Individualized Educational Programs are essential for students who require special support and services to cope with their academics. In an IEP, goals are set to cater to the needs of students for them to perform better in classrooms. For each child, individual and subjective goals can be written that they wish to fulfill during the course of their journey.
Self-advocacy goals are goals that are directed towards making the child responsible for themself and taking charge when they need the services provided to them to be modified when a new accommodation is required or even when an existing accommodation is required more frequently. Whatsoever the need or feedback of the child, self-advocacy goals help the student bring these forward so that they are benefitted effectively.
Self-advocacy IEP goals and their significance
Self Advocacy refers to a child’s ability to take a stand for themselves and make their own decisions. In an IEP, self-advocacy goals are those that focus on helping the student to be independent, or in other words, advocate for themselves. This means that students begin to learn how to identify their own behaviors and performance in classrooms and correspond them to the goals they are required to accomplish. In this way, it will also aid them in understanding the purpose of goal setting.
Students need self-advocacy goals in their IEPs so that they are able to develop a sense of control over their education and can themselves ensure the fulfillment of their needs as they are the best judge of it. The self-advocacy goals are aimed at making children ready to take the opportunities they come across to speak up for themselves and learn how to communicate their needs in an effective way.
By setting self-advocacy goals the child eventually becomes more independent and is able to navigate through the IEP process and its specifications. Teachers and parents can only support children to a certain extent, the child is the only source of communication from where what he or she needs, how they learn, and which areas they require special support can be brought to notice.
Examples of potential IEP goals for self-advocacy
An IEP aims to provide adjustments, modifications, and accommodations to students with disabilities to procure an equal opportunity to an education appropriate for their age and level. To develop an effective IEP, input from children is a must but is hard to receive in the initial days of the program and its development since children take time to be comfortable and get familiar with the facilitators. The self-advocacy goals set in an IEP achieve this ability to express and communicate their own needs. Given below are some examples that can be referred to while setting self-advocacy goals in an IEP.
- The student will review their IEP and be aware of their learning profile and recommended accommodations.
- The student will further develop their knowledge of their strengths, weaknesses, and coping strategies.
- The student will demonstrate awareness of the accommodations they can access which will aid their learning weaknesses.
- The student will recognize when and how often accommodation is required and its accuracy in supporting their difficulties.
- The student will develop their understanding of their rights as a student with an IEP and special services, and would be able to express some of their rights.
- The student will develop the skills to request the accommodation from teachers appropriately, as well as pitch the reason for needing it.
- The student will identify factors in the school that may be inhibiting them from accessing accommodations and assist in creating a plan of support.
- The student will create a digital portfolio with copies of their IEPs, assessments, and relevant documentation for potential use with future employers or educational institutions.
- The student will demonstrate knowledge of community resources and develop the ability to access them independently.
- The student will assess the effectiveness of learning strategies and make appropriate modifications to them with their facilitators.
What makes a good IEP?
IEPs are centered around the idea of providing children with learning disabilities special services, support, and accommodations to meet their special needs. A good IEP must include effort from all its team members that fulfill their responsibility in developing an effective IEP.
A good must include some essential components such as-
- Assessment of the current skill level of the child
- Strengths and weaknesses of the student
- Written Annual or monthly goals
- A progress tracking cycle
- Special education services personalized to the needs of the student
- Participation in Mainstream classrooms
- Testing adaptations of the student
- Transitional goals and services.
An effective IEP must include specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant goals as they indicate the purpose of the IEP and take it forward in the appropriate direction.
IEPs are programs provided to eligible children with special needs that help them with their academics and other aspects of their education by supporting them with special services and developing accommodations for them in their learning environments. In an IEP, it is important to write Self Advocacy goals for the student as making the student independent enough to be able to express and procure what they require is a very essential skill.
Self Advocacy goals are significant to ensure that the child is growing to be a self-fulfilling individual and will be able to meet its own needs without the push of its parents or teachers. This is also vital to make sure that the student is being provided with facilities that are suiting his or her needs. IEP goals can be set collaboratively with all team members and must be checked up on regularly.