Work Tasks {Writing IEP Goals }

Categories: Data | Resources

We are on to the meat. It’s time to get down and dirty and into the real heart of our classrooms – the work. Step 6 of the Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room. We have breezed through organization, classroom structure, schedules, visuals, and even data. Now – the work. I know what you are thinking. Where do I freaken start? I feel you – no worries. Take a deep breath, grab a big bowl of ice cream, and hang in there.

Of course, all children are different. But all children with autism are super different. The range within our caseload or classroom can be very broad. There is no preset curriculum or perfect combination of therapies. It’s trial and error sometimes. Each work load needs to be individualized. Each curriculum and program needs to be created based on the precise needs of the child. We get paid double for being curriculum writers, right? I’m still waiting on that second pay check…

Here is the weekly agenda for Step 6 {Work Tasks & IEP Goals}:

  1. Writing IEP Goals
  2. Reading
  3. Math
  4. Foundational, Prevocational, and Hands-On
  5. Organization & Products

We talked a little bit about IEP goals during data collection week. IEP goals are at the core of your curriculum and planning. IEP goals are based on State Standards or Common Core Standards. Often times these goals contain a significant component skill of the standard – so a basic ability that needs to be mastered in order to eventually accomplish the big task. Some of our students are not ready to focus on the full goal since they have not yet mastered all of the little steps.

Picking IEP Goals: 

Sometimes I don’t know where to start with writing IEP goals. With your students who are working on more basic foundational skills my go to is the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills. This assessment looks at 26 skill areas (ranging from visual performance to labeling to reading). Within the skill, there are sequentially challenging tasks. You rate how well the student can accomplish the task with the rubric. It’s a great way to illuminate skill deficits and show what types of goals need to be written.

The Autism Helper - Work Tasks


For my more academic students, I look at their current level of functioning, past IEP goals and data (if they are a current student), and standards/general education curriculum. I recommend using your school’s curriculum or school wide assessments whenever possible. This will make inclusion easier and allow you to participate in grade level meetings and planning.


I like to make sure to thoroughly include parents in the team when making IEP goal decisions. I think sometimes parents may feel intimidated or put on the spot participating fully during the meeting. I like to send a questionnaire prior to the meeting to get parent input on IEP goals. For a free download click on the following post:

The Autism Helper - Work Tasks


Writing IEP Goals:

Once you pick what types of IEP goals you are going to write – you then need to write them in a particular way. You want these goals to be useful. You want the criteria to show mastery. Make sure you are thinking about that when writing goals. I cringe when I see IEP goals that have a mastery criteria of 80% or 3 out of 5 opportunities. That is not mastery! If you fall off a bike two times every 5 rides – you are not a bike rider! IEP goals need a mastery criteria that illustrates mastery and contains a types of data you take. Don’t use a fluency criteria if you use discrete trial!

The Autism Helper - Work Tasks



Organizing IEP Paperwork:

We all know the game isn’t over after the IEP is signed, sealed, delivered – then the real work starts. Putting that IEP into action within the utter chaos that can be our classrooms. How do we keep track of everything? Here are a few tips:

The Autism Helper - Work Tasks

The Autism Helper - Work Tasks

The Autism Helper - Work Tasks

The Autism Helper - Data

Summer of the Seven Steps! 🙂

Seven Steps for Setting Up a Stellar Autism Room


  1. I teach at Providence College in the Graduate School of Ed. and was searching for IEP goals. Your site is excellent.

  2. Thank you so much for reading!

  3. Sasha,
    Do you have any thoughts on writing comprehension goals for non verbal readers? (upper elementary) Not the typical letter word id…

  4. What about basic functional sight words such as color words or number words and matching the word to the item?

  5. I read through your posts about 80% mastery not being okay. My concern is that many skills for some students when beginning new learning are at 0% understanding, but the plan is to actually teach the skill and then allow them to grow at a rate consistent with their learning ability level. If a student has an IQ of 51 or lower then they may very well not be able to obtain 100% mastery by the end of the IEP year. In this case what do you suggest?

  6. Yes, absolutely depends on the student and the skill. If we are starting at 0%, then 100% may not be an appropriate master criteria. You can break up that big skill into smaller more manageable pieces or scaffold towards that higher goal!

  7. The previously mastered skill was knows letter names and now we are doing sounds which they know none of even with being able to choose from a field of 2 choices. How would you do this goal to 100% mastery when I know that they won’t meet that by the next IEP? What would be a way to scaffold this skill?

  8. You could pick a certain set of letter sounds to work on. Ie will identify 10 letter sounds out of a field of 4 on 9 out of 10 trials or something like that.


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