Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from T.A., Maine

Everything I have researched on the internet has said that IEP goals and objectives are determined by the team – annual goals that are measurable – and only after that is the placement discussed. I just received the draft IEP for my son’s meeting and here is what was written under Goal:

Goals and Objectives for (name of child’s) educational program to be delivered in an regular academic setting through the ____ Deaf program at _____ school as follows: (Child) will participate in all academic classes in the academic program supported by the ____ Deaf program at _____ school with classes at the 7th grade level to include – Immersion in ASL: -Reading: – Written English: – Mathematics: Science: social Studies: and electives that apply.

How Goal will be measured: Using curriculum based assessments (CBA’s), grades, rubric scores, standardized testing scores and/or other measures as needed.

Is it just me, but is this not an IEP? I’m reading it as my son’s annual objective is to go to school. Isn’t this objective just simply referring only to placement? It mentions nothing about goals for him, benchmarks, etc. – seriously, am I reading this wrong? For example, his evaluation by the school stated “Student should continue to work on his written skills using the Writing Process of pre-plannning, first draft, revisions, and final draft.” Just one example, there are others. So, wouldn’t this evaluation recommendation be the basis of one of his IEP goals, with perhaps four benchmarks of how his progress would be measured?

That’s what I think, but am I wrong?

Question from T.A., Maine. Posted April 9, 2013.
Response from Cathy Rhoten - Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf

The Individual Education Plan is one of, if not the most significant document for your child.  While these may vary from state to state in some aspects, there still are universal sections that are required and mandated.

A few of these would be:

-  The IEP should list your child’s strengths, interest  and areas needing attention.
-  Assessments to be used for your child should be listed and identified on the IEP.
-  All subjects that require modification for your child need to be identified with goals as applicable.
-  Grade level and functioning level should be noted.
-  Goals, expectations, and performance standards should be specific and included.
-  All services your child qualifies for should be listed with amount of weekly time to receive such services.
-  Your child’s exceptionality should be identified.

It’s a little unclear from your question if your child is functioning at grade level; if so, then not having any goals in that subject area would be normal.  We need to remember an IEP is to help a child get to that at-grade-level performance, and thus goals should be specific and measureable within the subject area.

You should be able to clearly see the stated goal, see the expectations, and see the results on a regular basis if your child is progressing or not.  If for some reason progress isn’t being made then the teacher would show adaptations to try and help your child move ahead still.

There are now National Standards and Benchmarks for generally every subject area and these are found on line.  These give you a good indication of what grade level performance would be and thus you would know what your child should be doing.

Perhaps to me the most important part of the IEP is the section referred to as Specially Designed Instruction.  In this area one should be able to read an IEP, understand exactly where a child is functioning now, what adaptations are needed for this child and where the child needs to go.  To have this section (SDI) clear and exact is very important.