I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Michelangelo
As part of the Due Process Settlement the school system sent us a proposed IEP for the remaining eight weeks of our son Ted’s 3rd grade year.
It contained 20 benchmarks.
Can you do 20 things at once?
Heck, can you even REMEMBER 20 things?
Imagine you were a teacher and had 20 kids in class. You had 20 kids to manage. 20 kids to educate. How could you be expected to remember 20 separate IEP benchmarks for just one of those 20 kids?
That was my thought too.
And even though Ted was now assigned his own aide, thank goodness, deep sigh. How was his aide realistically, throughout the day, going to remember 20 benchmarks?
And if the benchmarks couldn’t be remembered they had no chance of being accomplished.
So my thinking was, instead of 20 idealistic benchmarks, focus on one or two instead.
This was a long-term project after all.
Ted was in 3rd grade, he had nine more years of school. If he mastered, really mastered, two benchmarks a year, well, that is 18 behaviors he’d master when it was time for his graduation.
Below is the proposed IEP. The two benchmarks highlighted in orange became his IEP for the remaining eight weeks of third grade.
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Goal Area – Social Skills
Teddy will be cooperative in general classroom activities 90% of the time.
- 1. Present Level: Teddy has difficulty interacting with peers and adults
Benchmarks: Teddy will maintain appropriate personal space while speaking with others 90% of the time.
Teddy will engage in social conversation with peers for two to three minutes.
Teddy will ask and obtain permission before picking up things that belong to others 90% of the time.
- 2. Present Level: Teddy is cooperative in the general classroom in activities 50% of the time.
Benchmarks: Teddy will follow general classroom directions 90% of the time.
Teddy will exhibit turn taking while participating in classroom activities 90% of the time.
Teddy will wait to be called on in classroom discussions, activities and games 70% of the time.
Teddy will return homework, correspondence to parents and materials in the same manner as the other students 90% of the time.
Teddy will accept correction for an adult without verbal or physical outbursts 9 out of ten times.
- 3. Present Level: Teddy is frequently impulsive
Benchmarks: Teddy will attend to and follow group directions in the classroom 90% of the time.
Teddy will begin tasks within two minutes and stay on task until the assignment is completed up to 15 minutes.
Teddy will work quietly without disturbing noises or irrelevant comments for up to 15 minutes.
Teddy will attempt new or unfamiliar activities without complaint or outbursts 9 out of 10 times an opportunity arises.
- 4. Present Level: Teddy has difficulty with anger control and has engaged in aggressive behaviors.
Benchmarks: Teddy will interact with peers without derogatory statements or verbal abuse in structured interactions with limited peers in 9 out of 10 situations.
Teddy will interact with others without physically threatening or abusing others in all settings where Teddy has an opportunity for social interaction.
Teddy will identify from a list of those times he has felt anger or stress with a 90% correlation to how he has behavior in those situations.
Teddy will identify situations that might cause anger or stress.
Teddy will role-play alternative actions in these potential situations.
Goal Area: Communication
To improve pragmatic language skills
- 1. Present Level: Undefined
Benchmarks: Teddy will use appropriate greetings (hello/goodbye) with peers and adults 50% of the time.
Teddy will use appropriate techniques to initiate conversations, i.e. “Did you know…” 50% of the time.
Teddy will identify various emotions in his voice and others 90% of the time.
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Teddy was out of the emotionally conflicted classroom and back in the general education environment and he had an aide. It had been a long 18 months, but we where finally where we needed to be. The work wasn’t over but the Due Process settlement turned the tide for the remaining nine years of his public school education. We had gone up to the mountain and we were looking over at the promised land.
Next: Our attorney’s response to the proposed IEP
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