Jun 192014

Learning to write Measureable IEP Goals for organization can help you write a goal for ANY instruction your child needs, including organizational skills.

Organizational skills CAN be taught, but they require you or your child’s teacher to give your child specific, step-by-step instructions, each and every day, day after day, until the process becomes natural to your child. IEP goals for organization won’t miraculously be met without direct teaching of organization skills.

For some reason, organization skills, even when goals are included in an IEP are overlooked in the teaching portion of the day. You can set goals for reading, writing, spelling, etc., and everyone clearly sees a child needs to be TAUGHT. However, people assume a child will “just pick up” on the organization skills. He won’t.

Your child won’t miraculously be able to track his homework or self-correct errors he’s over-looked in his work. Part of having an executive functioning deficit involves NOT being able to figure out how to do things correctly by simply picking up on what others do. Therefore your child will have to be taught the skills directly. Your child needs IEP goals for organization.

Learning to Write great IEP goals for organization for your child is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1) Read the information below to understand 3 Ways Your Child can be taught to be more organized;

2) Read the linked articles to better understand your child’s needs; and

3) Create goals using the sample IEP goals for organization as your starting point.

If your child has ADHD, Executive Function Disorder, or other learning difficulties, he needs direct instruction to learn organizational skills.

There are three areas of instruction needed for your child to learn organization and planning skills:

1) Establish Routines for the beginning and end of the school day, or arrival and departure from school. – Routines must be performed with assistance DAILY until your child can walk through the habit without thinking. Routines can be handled for the entire classroom or by checklist. Learning consistent routines for arrival and departure will help your child handle his schooling with  more consistency.

If your child is going to remember his books and homework each day, his teacher(s) will have to tell him, “<child ‘s name>, put your assignment paper in the front of your notebook. Put your biology book in your bookbag.”

Eventually, when your child consistently follows the directions, your child’s teacher can shift to reminding your child to work through his routine procedure. Eventually, with enough consistency of practice, your child will know what to do all by himself.

Your child may need to be told that every single day he has a paper with assignments for years before it becomes a natural process for your child to put both the paper and the book in his bookbag when he has homework.

2) Teach your child to use printed checklists for common routine activities.  Your child will need to learn to use checklists daily for arriving at and departing from school and home.

Going through the checklist will require you or your child’s teacher to walk your child through the list to make sure he thoughtfully considers each item before checking it off.

Make sure routine lists are printed on laminated, heavy card stock or are kept inside a page protector to keep them from getting lost or torn.  Your child can use a dry erase marker to mark off items, then the list can be wiped clean for the next day’s use.

3) Your child will also need direct instruction about how to break large school projects or papers into smaller steps. Your child needs to know how to schedule the small steps, and to see how dividing a large assignment up into small pieces will help him complete the assignment in a timely manner.

Make sure your child’s teacher helps your child see and understand the smaller steps within a project.  His teacher or you can help with the small step scheduling. Learning how to break down large projects will help your child tackle each step in the project. It will also teach your child how to handle increasingly complicated planning.

The three areas of skill above are essential skills for your child to become more organized.  To learn more about tools for directly teaching your child these organization skills, check out the book “Organization Information and Tools for the Disorganized Child” on Amazon.

As another skill example, for a child who easily overlooks spelling errors, it can be helpful to implement a self-correction spelling method. The process requires adult assistance, but self-correction is proven to be one of the best methods for helping a child learn to self-correct spelling errors.

A Word About Pre-written IEP Goal banks used by schools:

If every child were the same, the one-size-fits-all banks of prewritten IEP goals for organization which some schools use would work well for all children. Having ready-made IEP goals for organization makes it easy for the IEP team to plug goals in, but if your school is using ready-made goals, how “individualized” is your child’s IEP?

You may also want to include assistive technology items in your child’s IEP. There are assistive technologies your child can use to help with organization. Check out the available options for Organizational Assistive Technology.

It’s somewhat individualized based upon the goals chosen from the data bank, but often IEP goals for organization need to be modified to fit your specific child.  Read the following steps to learn how to know whether your child has good goals and to learn to modify goals to fit your child’s individual needs.

I’ve provided examples of some  IEP goals for organization in Part I of this article to help you understand more about the types of data included in specific, measurable goals so you’ll be able to tell if your child is actually making progress.

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Aug 042013

You Can Improve your child’s academic performance with Executive Functioning IEP Goals

When writing Executive Functioning IEP Goals, notice how measurable is each goal. If your child’s organization goals are NOT measurable, how will you know if your child is making progress?

By writing measurable goals, you and your child’s school will both KNOW if your child is improving in his skills. If you have measurable goals, you can adjust the goals as your child becomes more organized. Your child will become more organized when he’s making good progress on his goals.

Write Executive Functioning IEP Goals for Organization to help your child learn to:

– Keep track of homework papers.
– Keep track of assignment due dates.
– Remember to turn in assignments and homework.
– Remember to bring needed books home (or back to school).
– Develop organizational skills to manage his daily life.

You can use the example Executive Functioning IEP Goals for organization listed below to write similar goals for your child.

Examples of MEASURABLE Executive Functioning IEP Goals for Organization:

The Executive Functioning IEP Goals listed below are examples. They will need to be changed to fit your child’s needs.

The first IEP Goal for Organization can be used if your school (or you) will provide a brain-training or cognitive enhancement program. The program should improve your child’s cognitive processes. If your child is being provided a cognitive enhancement program, then you can set goals to track your child’s progress:

Here’s an Example of an IEP Goal for Executive Functioning:

[Your Child’s name] will improve in at least two of the following executive functioning indicators over this school year:

  • Distractibility Index (WISC III) – Target Score = 100 – (currently 87).
  • Processing Speed (WISC III) – Target Score = 100 – (currently 88).
  • Digit Span (WISC III) – Target Stanine score = 10 – (currently 7).
  • Coding (WISC III) – Target Stanine score = 10 – (currently 7).

NOTE: Each of the skills must be tracked, so you will know whether your child is meeting the Executive Functioning IEP Goals for Organization. Schools often set goals, but then some don’t track progress.  They’ll tell you your child is making progress at the next IEP meeting, but they don’t have any data. You should be able to say, “Show me the data,” and they should have some proof of progress.

Executive Functioning IEP Goals for Attending to Errors:

[Your Child’s Name] will self-initiate editing activities. [Child] will correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar on all typical classroom assignments in all settings .
7 out of 10 times by November.
8 out of 10 times by January.
9 out of 10 times by March.

[Your Child’s Name] will self-edit his work to correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar errors. [Child] will edit all typical classroom assignments in all settings to eliminate all errors from his work.
7 out of 10 times by November.
8 out of 10 times by January.
9 out of 10 times by March.

Executive Functioning IEP Goals for Self-Management:

[Your Child’s Name] will develop the ability to attend to individual tasks. [Child] will improve processing speed through the use of timers and cuing used with the entire class in the general classroom.

[Your Child’s Name] will improve organization skills for classroom work and homework through specific, repetitive instruction. [Child] will use:
· personal daily checklist.
· binder / notebook with labeled sections for each subject.
· homework folder with pocket dividers inserted in main binder / notebook.

Executive Functioning IEP Goals for Cognitive Program Completion:

[Your Child’s Name] will successfully complete 12 or more weeks of a proven cognitive enhancement program. (The program will address deficits in processing speed, short-term working memory, attention to detail, monitoring, sequencing and organization skills.) [Child’s Name] will receive instruction for at least 1 hour per day, every week day.

Since you don’t have a huge database of Executive Functioning IEP Goals to use, like a lot of schools do, you may want to get one of the following IEP Goal Books on Amazon. These books will provide you with additional goals to choose from, although the goals cover skills of all types:

You’re wise to arm yourself with the knowledge of how to write organizational goals. You want to be able to write goals that will meet your child’s individualized needs. Check out the section about how to WRITE specific, measurable IEP Goals for Organization Skills in Part II of this lesson.

Two notes about development of Executive Functioning IEP Goals:

Your child needs direct instruction in organization both at home and at school, so he can learn how to organize his school work. Your child’s IEP can contain Executive Functioning IEP Goals for both home and school.

When writing Executive Functioning IEP Goals, you may also find the pages for ADHD and Executive Functioning helpful. These are the two learning disabilities that cause organizational problems.  Understanding these two LDs will help you come up with better plans for helping your child. 😉

Learn how to write MEASURABLE IEP GOALS by reading the information in Part II. That will help you educate yourself about your child’s educational needs.

You may ALSO want to check out Assistive Technology for kids with Executive Functioning Disorder. Including the use of assistive technology in your Executive Functioning IEP Goals sets your child up for better long-term success.

Check related IEP Goals :

IEP Goals for Reading
Example IEP Goals for Spelling
IEP Goals for Written Expression
Example IEP Goals for Copying

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Jul 102013

Learning Handwriting For A Child with Dysgraphia.

If your child has dysgraphia, you know teaching your child to write legibly is difficult.

Even when your child works hard learning handwriting, progress can seem minimal.

Writing a readable composition is affected by two components of dysgraphia:

One is handwriting and the other is the organization and planning of good writing.

If your child has difficulty in either handwriting or organizing the writing, he will have difficulty writing. This is true even when your child is writing short stories or compositions. 

If your child’s difficulty is with learning handwriting, he may have difficulty with visual-motor integration, fine motor skills, etc. This page will focus on methods and curriculum for children who have difficulty with the physical task of learning handwriting.

First, let’s talk briefly about dysgraphia causing difficulty with organization skills and planning. When writing is badly spaced and sized, there can be a problem area like a deficit in executive functioning disorder. Executive functioning affects organization skills, sequencing, planning, etc. 

If your child needs help with the content of his writing, then it will be helpful for you to refer to the Recommended composition writing curriculum for homeschooling children with learning disabilities.

NOW, let’s talk about the isolated task of learning handwriting and how a child with dysgraphia can be helped more effectively.

Children with dysgraphia often hate writing by time they are diagnosed. Because of this, it is often a good idea to separate writing essays from learning handwriting. Find other fun ways of working on writing skills without actually having your child handwriting the essay. Let your child dictate to you, record an essay in a digital recorder, or use other assistive technology for dysgraphia.

In order to work on your child’s physical skills, starting with large format maze puzzles can be more fun than actually learning handwriting. If you start with large formats, your child can see how to get through the maze easily. Slowly move towards smaller, more difficult and complex mazes. This will help your child make progress in the skill areas necessary for handwriting without forcing the issue of learning handwriting. Most kids don’t even know working mazes is a way of working on learning handwriting!

Given your child’s needs to learn fine muscle control, using a pen or pencil to work through mazes can give your child lots of practice in a fun format. This type of practice is almost always more effective for kids who “hate to write”.

To build handwriting dexterity, I recommend starting with books like these:
Kindergarten Mazes: Simple Mazes For Kids

As your child’s ability to use a pencil improves, you may want to switch to books that provide more precise practice like these:
Maze Books for Kids

Another method for learning handwriting skills is through Multisensory activities. Handwriting with soap on a large flat pan, with a finger on velvet, with gross body movements with a large chalkboard, in a sand tray, etc. are all fun ways for learning handwriting.

If you have your child work on drawing in a pan with his finger, you can work on spelling through multi-sensory activities at the same time. You can help with both handwriting and spelling simultaneously.

Try to think of creative ways to let your child “play” with his school work. Building fun into learning handwriting will make the task of overcoming LD issues more rewarding along the way.

Learning Handwriting Separately from Writing

For any child with dysgraphia, learning handwriting and composition is very effortful. It takes a lot of brain processing to hold a written composition in your mind while figuring out what you want to say, organizing it, recalling the spelling, and writing each word, word-by-word, until you get the whole composition placed beautifully on a piece of paper.

For a child who has dysgraphia, there are often difficulties with working memory, phonemic awareness, graphomotor abilities, or other critical skills. Therefore, expecting great handwriting in written compositions is often unrealistic.

For best results, separating learning handwriting completely from writing compositions (written expression) usually enables the child to have better outcomes in each task. Using keyboarding, copying tasks, or a handwriting program is usually the best option for improving a child’s ability to get his thoughts onto paper in a legible fashion.

Written expression, or composition writing, should be addressed totally separately from learning handwriting. Check out the Written Expression Woes and What To Do About Them page for ideas about teaching written expression to a child with dysgraphia or handwriting difficulties.

Handwriting Programs for Kids Who Struggle

**Handwriting for Kids – This website provides printable guides for children learning to print or write cursive. The handwriting practice materials at this site are ‘traditional’ and not designed specifically for a child with learning disabilities. If you are looking for an inexpensive handwriting curriculum, this site is a great resource. However, it does not provide materials specific to teaching a child who is having difficulty with letter and number formation.

**Handwriting Help for Kidslearning handwriting – This program provides visual and verbal strategies for learning handwriting. The program was created by occupational therapists, so it is well-suited for kids who have difficulty with their grapho-motor (handwriting) skills. Children “swim, surf, and sail” their way through learning cursive writing. This program is a great way to allow your child to have fun while learning to write.

**Handwriting Without Tearslearning handwriting – This is the main program we used in the beginning. With this program, my child who HATES writing said that Cursive Writing was his favorite subject! Handwriting Without Tears is simple and very easy to follow. The directions are clear and the children can easily determine what to do. Handwriting Without Tears is successful because it simplifies learning handwriting. It builds on basic pencil strokes in order to form letters, and the program keeps the writing style simple.

**Italic Handwriting Books – We used this program as well. The Handwriting Without Tears program was great for getting started, but didn’t provide enough practice to actually overcome the issues with grapho-motor difficulties. The Italic series is easy to use because the letter formation is relatively simple (without much in the way of ornate decorative elements). It is easier for a child with handwriting difficulties to copy the letters than it is with some forms of handwriting that are more ornate.

**Audiblox – This is a program that addresses some of the underlying issues that contribute to dysgraphia. While this is not a program for learning handwriting, many of the skill deficits addressed through the program can help make a child’s writing more legible. This program will help with sequential planning (as needed in spelling), letter size, letter spacing, focus, etc.

You may want to check out these Free Downloadable Workbooks:

Spelling for Writing Workbooks – Downloadable from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ by entering the document number into the search box.

These workbooks begin with learning handwriting in conjunction with simple spelling exercises.

Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 1. (ED451543) – document number ED451543
Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 2. (ED451545) – document number ED451545
Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 3. (ED451547) – document number ED451547
Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 4. (ED451548) – document number ED451548
Spelling for Writing: Student Activity Book. Level 5. (ED451549) – document number ED451549
ED451542 – Spelling for Writing: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers. Level 1. (ED451542)
ED451544 – Spelling for Writing: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers. Level 2. (ED451544)
ED451546 – Spelling for Writing: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers. Level 3. (ED451546)
ED448460 – Spelling for Writing: Instructional Strategies. (ED448460)