Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sample IEP Goals that address Executive Functioning

I got this from Rogers neuropsychologist: (I'm not sure who the original author is to give proper credit)

General best practice principles when writing executive function IEP goals
• The purpose of the goals should be to teach the child to automatically use self -regulatory routines and scripts (or habits) that increase independent, flexible, goal-oriented problem-solving.
• Executive function goals cannot be successfully met unless they are introduced with a lot of individualized structuring, cueing, and reinforcement. Simply showing a child with executive dysfunction how to fill out an agenda book will not enable that child to do so independently on a regular basis. Intensive practice with an adult, followed by the implementation of key cues, such as a written checklist and the slow fading of direct adult support as the child becomes more independent is required.
• It is essential to establish the necessary external environmental pre-conditions that facilitate and promote the child’s developing and making automatic (if possible) self-regulatory routines and scripts.
• Because executive dysfunction affects all aspects of school performance, IEP goals should link directly to all key academic content areas (reading, writing, math, science, etc.) as well as to communication and social-emotional performance.
• Use the sample IEP goals below as starting points or models for specific IEP goals that address your child’s needs and situation.

1. Flexible Problem Solving: (1) Given training in and visual reminders of, self regulatory scripts (such as “big deal/little deal”, “choice/no choice”, (“plan A/{plan B” and “handling the unexpected”) child’s name will manage unexpected events and violations of routine without disrupting classroom activities. (2) With fading adult supports, child’s name will use a structured recipe or routine for generating new ideas, or brainstorming to respond successfully to open ended assignments. (3) When faced with changes and/or transitions in activities or environments, child’s name will initiate the new activity after only two (one, three) reminders (or within 2, 4, 5 minutes). (4) Given concrete training, visual supports and fading adult cuing, child’s name will appropriately label flexible and stuck behaviors in himself. (5) Given training and practice with the concept of compromise, and in the presence of visual supports, child’s name will accept and generate compromise solutions to conflicts when working cooperatively with others.

2. Goal Setting: (1) Child’s name will participate with teachers and therapists in setting instructional and therapy goals (e.g., "I want to be able to read this book; hit a baseball across the gym; write my name so mom can read it;” etc.) (2) Given explicit instruction, visual reminders, and fading adult support, child’s name will successfully distinguish target goals (doing well in school, making a friend, learning to read, graduating from school) from interfering goals (playing video games instead of doing homework).

3. Planning: (1) Given a routine (e.g., complete sheet of math problems, ask a friend to play a game), Child’s name will indicate what steps or items are needed and the order of the events. (2) Child’s name will learn a general self regulatory script (eg Goal-Plan-Do-Check) for carrying out any multiple step task (completing homework, writing an essay, doing a science project) and, given practice, visual cues and fading adult supports, will apply the script independently to new situations. (3) Given a selection of 3 activities for a therapy or instructional session, Child’s name will indicate their order, create a plan on paper (e.g., with photographs), and stick to the plan. (3) Given a task that he correctly identifies as difficult for him, Child’s name will create a plan for accomplishing the task. (4) Having failed to achieve a predicted grade on a test, Child’s name will create a plan for improving performance for the next test.

4. Organizing: (1) Given adult support and visual cues, Child’s name will create a system for organizing personal items in his cubby. (2) To tell an organized story, Child’s name will place photographs in order and then narrate the sequence of events. (3) Given visual cues and fading adult support, Child’s name will select and use a system to organize his assignments and other school work. (4) Given a complex task, Child’s name will organize the task on paper, including the materials needed, the steps to accomplish the task, and a time frame. (4) Using learned strategies and given fading adult support, Child’s name will prepare an organized outline before proceeding with writing projects.

5. Self-Monitoring, Self-Evaluating: (1) Given training in a self regulatory routine, such as Goal-Plan-Do-Check, and visual cues and fading adult supports, child’s name will accurately predict how effectively he will accomplish a task. For example, he will accurately predict whether or not he will be able to complete a task; predict how many (of something) he can finish; predict his grade on tests; predict how many problems he will be able to complete in a specific time period; etc. (2) Given a specific work checking routine, child’s name will identify errors in his work without teacher assistance. (3) Child’s name's rating of his performance on a 10-point scale will be within one point of the teacher's rating.

6. Self-Awareness/Self Advocacy: (1) Given a specific routine for monitoring task success, such as Goal-Plan-Do-Check, Child’s name will accurately identify tasks that are easy/difficult for him. (2) Given a difficult task, Child’s name will (verbally or nonverbally) indicate that it is difficult. (3) Child’s name will explain why some tasks are easy/difficult for him (4) Child’s name will request help when tasks are difficult. (5) Child’s name will offer help to others when he is more capable than the other child.


  1. Great Blog!! I'm now following you from Debbie Does Coupons. Would like a follow me back pleae

  2. I've not had to do an IEP with any of my kids but these are still things that can be incorporated for all. Routines are critical! I'm a new GFC follower from Saturday Stalk Remix.

  3. I do not know who originally wrote these so I don't know who to give credit to.

  4. Great goal ideas. I was having a hard time wording some of my thoughts into goals for one of my OT kiddos...thanks Kitty Kay (and whoever wrote these).

  5. Yes! I agree with Renee - these are fantastic goals. Like KittyKay, I too would like to know who to give credit to for writing these. Thanks!

  6. This couldn't have come at a better time! I have just found you and I am having an IEP for my soon to be 4th grader with HFA, combo type ADHD and severe executive functioning delays!! I hope some of the goals and objectives you have here will show up on his new IEP!! They are brilliant!! You can catch me at Laughter, Could be the Missing Piece or Well Worth the Journey

  7. My son has ADD and EF problems as a result. I love the sample goals, but am wondering what #5 would look like in a team taught 5th grade classroom?

  8. This is really helpful, thank you. I'm having trouble wording some goals appropriately, and this has helped clarify my thinking a lot.