How To Meet the Goals of Special Education

Meeting special education goals is not difficult if the goals are written well. Here is a step-by-step plan on how to develop goals that are likely to be met.

  1. Before you can write any goal, you must identify the child's area of weakness and/or need. This can be done through observation, testing, or interviewing teachers and the child. This will tell you what area you need to focus on.

  • Now, it is time to develop a goal. A good goal should be:
    • Specific
    • Objective
    • Measurable
    • Obtainable
  • Once you have a goal in mind, it is time to determine the objectives. Break the goal down into steps and determine how long it should take the child to reach each individual step. Some other things you should consider are:
    • How long should it take to reach the final goal?
    • How much time each week will be available to work on this goal?
    • What equipment is necessary to achieve this goal?
    Here are some common reasons why goals might not be met.

    1. Aiming too high. You want to set special education goals that will push the student, but not ones that are impossible to meet. It is better to revise goals because they have been met than to never achieve the goals that were set.

  • Writing special education goals that include emotional words such as "enjoy," "express pleasure," etc.  It is almost impossible to make someone else feel something-especially enjoyment and pleasure. This goes back to setting goals that are objective.
  • Writing abstract or unclear goals. Stating, "Johnny will read better" is not good. What is meant by better? How much better? A better goal would be "Johnny will spend at least sixty minutes a week reading challenging materials." You would want to state what would be considered challenging reading materials (usually slightly above current reading level), when this reading will be done, and where the materials will be obtained.
  • Failing to review and revise special education goals frequently. The more frequently you review the goals, the better chance you have at identifying a problem and revising goals if necessary.
  • Not taking into account changes that come with each new school year. Special education goals for an upcoming school year should be written in conjunction with the current and the future teacher.  Unfortunately, the future teacher is not always available or known at Individualized Education Program (IEP) time. Taking the time to talk with potential teachers and understanding their limitations is key if you want to ensure that goals will be obtainable.

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