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Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for Autism

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How does an IEP work for a child with autism? continued...

In the IEP, each of these goals should be broken down into measurable objectives so that the IEP team will be able to assess your child's progress. For instance, a goal for a child to learn addition and subtraction might contain the following objective: "The child will correctly subtract two-digit numbers 90% of the time in a one-on-one situation with a special education teacher."

Many children with autism find it difficult to develop the skills they need. Engaging a child or teen in the IEP process provides an opportunity to teach a child with autism to advocate for himsel or herself. For some children, involvement may be limited to attending the IEP meeting. Over time, and depending upon the degree of the disability, some children may be able to take more ownership. When they do, they will more actively participate in designing their IEP for autism. They may be able to identify their own problem areas and help create reasonable goals for themselves. And they may be able to determine which special education services would help them meet their educational potential.

Since an Individualized Education Program details the special services to which a child is entitled, it can be used to guarantee that particular areas of deficit will be addressed. If your child needs special services, such as counseling, occupational therapy, or physical therapy, the IEP should include information about the frequency and length of meetings with appropriate professionals.

Because the plan is reviewed annually, it can be modified over time to meet your child's changing needs and abilities. An IEP can also help your child make the transition to adulthood. When your child turns 14, the IEP must include information about which academic courses are needed to help your child meet his or her post-high-school goals. At age 16, the IEP must detail which transition services, if any, your child will need in preparation for completing school.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan G Weintraub, MD on May 12, 2013
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