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How to design IEP goals and objectives for kids with CVI

Discover what makes effective, actionable, and forward-thinking goals and objectives for your child with CVI

Forward-thinking and actionable IEP goals for kids with CVI

Congratulations! You’ve made it this far, and this is the exciting part. The goals and objectives section of your child’s IEP is where your team lays out clear, actionable goals for your child’s educational progress in the year ahead. 

Goals and objectives aren’t synonymous. A goal is specific and measurable. It refers to your child’s overall target after a set time, such as being able to read the entire alphabet in 3 out of 4 opportunities by the next IEP meeting. 

Objectives are those smaller skills and steps needed to get to that goal, such as being able to read 50 percent of the alphabet in 3 out of 5 opportunities with 2 prompts. Objectives often include supports such as prompts, whereas a longer-term goal emphasizes independence. Here’s a handy breakdown of the difference.

No matter what, goals and objectives for a child with CVI should be:

  • Tied to your child’s assessments and current levels of performance.
  • Focused on CVI and on your child’s holistic educational experience; remember: CVI touches every aspect of your child’s learning.
  • Based on data from appropriate CVI assessments delivered by a qualified team.

Importantly, this section should be written from a perspective of strength, not deficits or weakness: Goals and objectives should highlight what skills your child can build upon, not what they can’t do. This needs to be a positive, forward-thinking framework that connects past strengths with future opportunities. It should:

  • Identify your child’s current skills.
  • Identify their prior knowledge.
  • Link to their prior knowledge.

Goals stem directly from broad need areas identified in present levels of performance. Goals should be observable and measurable.

Visual and compensatory skill access should be considered across every goal and objective, not isolated to your TVI. Every single person on your child’s team should have reviewed and understood the accommodations required for your child to address the skill they’re targeting within their objective.

Marguerite Tibaudo, Education Director, Deafblind Program at Perkins

Example of a template for goals and objectives

The templates and examples that follow are from the work of Michele Hosmer, Director of Program Improvement at Perkins, and Allan Blume, an educational consultant.

Goal
Kai will use [goal focus] skills such as [insert some of the skills embedded within Current Performance Level] to demonstrate ability beyond the current performance level and as documented by the following objectives. 

Objectives
Measurable objectives directly support team goals and match your child’s current performance data. Every IEP objective should have six parts:

  • Your child’s name: This document is specific to your child.
  • Condition: What needs to be present or provided for a skill to occur? This could take place in the curriculum, through instruction, in your child’s environment, or in social situations.
  • Accommodation/Modification: What form of accommodation or specially designed instruction requirement needs to be provided for your child?
  • Skill/performance or behavior: This is something observable that your child is expected to do. 
  • Criterion: How will this skill be measured or quantified?
  • Schedule/Mastery: When will we know that your child has achieved or surpassed the expectation, or when data will be gathered? It’s helpful to write this as the number of times attempted than with a percentage, to keep the objective measurable.

Here’s an example: “Given a topic to write about (condition) and a color-coded visual model to follow and speech-to-text software (accommodation), Kai (name) will write (skill) at least 3 paragraphs (criterion) in 8 out of 10 work samples across three consecutive weeks (schedule/mastery).

Goals should be written to reflect what the student will do, not what service is provided. Some examples of possible IEP goal focus areas identified within the present levels are: Reading comprehension, fluency skills, communication, time-management, self-advocacy, self-regulation, organization, independent travel, interpersonal and social skills, college and career exploration, math skills, fine motor skills, and writing skills.

Allan Blume, educational consultant

Let’s drill down deeper on each of the components.

Conditions

Conditions are related to a task or skill, whereas accommodations are related to the specific assistance your child requires. Here are some examples:

Curriculum:

  • Given math word problems…
  • Given a selected reading passage…
  • Given a clearly identified routine…      
  • Given the individualized calendar system…

Environment:

  • Upon hearing the bell…
  • Given a quiet and visually simple environment…
  • Upon entering the room…
  • When traveling in the hallway…

Interpersonal:

  • During a class discussion… 
  • When engaged in conversation … 
  • When in a related service session…
  • When asked a question…
  • When in a situation that causes frustration or anger…

Artificial:

  • Given a role-play situation…
  • Given a (teacher-selected, self-selected) topic to write about 
Accommodation or modification

Here, your child’s IEP should explain what form of accommodation or specially designed instruction requirement needs to be provided for a skill. An IEP objective is unique because of the inclusion of student-specific accommodations or modifications. The accommodation or modification for the objective comes directly from your child’s IEP. Here are some examples:

  • a physical guide
  • with the use of a social story
  • a tactile cue
  • a 3D model
  • oral response
  • full physical assistance
  • use of a white cane 
Skill/performance or behavior

This refers to something observable that your child is expected to do. The skills used to create your child’s objectives come from the subset skills in the impact of the disability statement drafted by your team. (Here’s a refresher on every part of the IEP.)

Your team should avoid verbs like learn, know, appreciate, and value. They’re not easily quantified or observed. Here are some examples:

  • Will decode, read, use vocabulary, identify, perform basic reading skills
  • Will attend to, organize, plan, initiate, complete on time, demonstrate 
  • Will make eye contact, agree or disagree, use facial expressions
  • Will hold, write, button, cut
  • Will stand, walk, run, jump, sit upright
Criterion

This is where the IEP describes how a skill will be precisely measured or quantified. It has a numeric value and can be measured. Data in your child’s current performance level can be used for criterion.  Here are some good descriptors:

  • Frequency: the number of times that something occurs
  • Latency: the time between a request and student response
  • Time: a set amount
  • Duration: the length of time that something occurs
  • Distance: the area covered
  • Independence: the absence of prompts/interventions/cues
Schedule/Mastery

This is when educators know that your child has achieved or surpassed an expectation, or when data will be gathered. It should be directly linked to a time when the original baseline data was gathered from your child’s current performance level. Ways to monitor schedule mastery include:

  • Observations
  • Work samples
  • Formal assessments
  • Checklists
  • Behavioral data

Sample Goals & Objectives

Need area: Study Skills 

Current Performance: From 10 assignments across the quarter, it was documented that Kai has a strong grasp of content concepts and shows good motivation and effort toward these assignments.  In 5 of the 10 assignments, she requested additional help to understand the scope of the assignments and with the other 5 she showed frustration and gave up trying – this was evidenced when she said things such as “ I can’t do this,” “I give up,” or “I hate this work.”  She completed 2 of the 10 assignments on the due date, 8 of the assignments were late ranging from 1 – 3 days.

Goal Template: Kai will use (goal focus name) such as (subset skill details from the CPL) to demonstrate ability beyond the current performance level and as measured by (tangible from the CPL) and the following objectives. 

Kai will use study skills such as requesting help, participating appropriately (lack of frustration) and on-time task completion to demonstrate ability beyond the current performance level as measured by assignments across the quarter and the following objectives. 

Objectives:

  1. Given an assignment where she understands the requirements (condition) and an access to support personnel (modification), student (name) will (independently (criterion) complete (the assignment (skill) in at least 6 out of 10 assignments across the quarter (mastery).
  2. Given an assignment that is challenging to her (as noted by self or others) (condition) and using a self-evaluation checklist (accommodation) student (name) will complete the assignment (skill) independently (absence of verbal frustration) (criterion) in greater than 6 out of 10 assignments across the quarter (mastery).
  3. Given due dates for assignments (condition) and the use of a calendar reminder (accommodation) student (name) will submit the assignments (skill) on or before the due date (criterion) in at least 4 out of 10 assignments across the quarter (mastery).
  4. Given due dates for assignments (condition) and the use of a calendar reminder (accommodation) student (name) will submit the assignments (skill) not later than 1 day (criterion) in at least 5 out of 10 assignments across the quarter (mastery)

Remember: As a parent, you have the right to ask how a goal or objective was determined and for the data that supports it. 

Finally: Goals and Objectives don’t focus on services your team will provide; it’s all about what your child might achieve using those services. And your child can achieve! Kids with CVI can learn, progress, and grow.

Ready to learn more? Watch our presentation on Building Accessible and Meaningful Learning for Students With CVI.

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