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Special Education/IEP goals for Dyspraxia


My 5-year-old grandson has ADD, PDD-NOS and is taking focalin.  He was recently diagnosed with Dyspraxia by a therapist at CT Children's Medical Center. Our school system is notorious for doing as little as they can get away with for special needs children.   He did go to the Special ED pre-school , but was changed to 504 last year.  Could you suggest some appropriate IEP goals that we should look for if we are successful in getting him back into Special Ed?  (The school is looking at having him repeat Kindergarten next year.)

Special Needs Advocacy
Special Needs Advocacy  

ABCs for Life Success
ABCs for Life Success  
Hi Anne, Thanks so much for reaching out to me with a great question about your five year old grandson.  As I understand your question, he went to a special educaiton preschool under an IEP, but for Kindergarten this school year, he was dismissed from special education and there was a 504 plan in place.  Now he has a new diagnosis of Dyspraxia, on top of existing diagnoses of PDD NOS and ADHD.  He is doing poorly in kindergarten, and the school district is discussing having him repeat kindergarten.  You want to know if I can suggest goals for another IEP so that he can 'get back into' special education.

"Getting back into" special education means that you would like to see him become eligible for special education.  Therefore, instead of giving you goals for a possible IEP, I would like to share information about the eligibility process.  If I have this wrong, and the IEP is being developed and you would like goals, please follow up with me with another question.

In order for a child to become eligible for special education, three things need to occur.  I discuss this in great detail in a chapter of my Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book, but I am going to summarize here.  

1--The child must meet one of the 14 defined disabilities under IDEA.  Here they are:

Based on what you have told me, Autism, Other Health Impairment, or another may be appropriate.

2--The defined disability must have an adverse educational affect on your grandson.  This means that he is having difficulty learning the skills or curriculum, and is not making expected progress. This seems to be the case since he may have to repeat kindergarten.

and 3--because of the disability and its affect on the child, the child must require special education.  Special education is defined as specially designed instruction to meet a child's unique needs.  

It is typical for there to be an evaluation process in order to re-establish eligibility.  This can be as simple as review of information that exists, or it can be more complex and entail full and complete re-evaluation of your grandson.  The above three questions should be the focus of the evaluations.  The multidisciplinary team decides which evaluations are needed and who will do them.

Parents can have evaluations done privately instead, or in conjunction with the team.  Of course, if you are doing some private evaluations, the examiner must use the processes and procedures that the school district would use. It's useful for the examiner sometimes to participate in the evaluation discussion with the school team.  Also, if private evaluations are done, the examiner should consult in some way with the school so that he/she can speak to #2--the educational effects of the disability.  

I have a service called an IEP Audit.  I would be able to craft a draft of an IEP after I review your grandson's information if you like.  But it seems to me, if I have understood the situation, the first order of business at this time should be focus on evaluation and eligibility.  Then once he becomes eligible, the IEP will be written and implemented.  It will be interesting if he becomes eligible to see if the school district treats this IEP as the initial IEP.  That would be my guess.  If so, then the parent will have to consent for special education services after the parent is sure that the document contains what the child needs.  That is also a good time to bring in someone like me, and maybe private evaluators, to review the draft and help determine if it is crafted so your grandson will benefit and recieve the appropriate services.

While I don't know your grandson of course, here are some areas that may be covered by the IEP goals:
-Reciprocal social interactions, pragmatic language, social skills, group interaction
-Following routines and school procedures
-Emotional regulation
-Fine motor or writing skills
-Attention, concentration, following directions, completing tasks, being organized

I very much hope that this response has helped you as you advocate for your grandson!  Thanks again for writing and don't hesitate to follow up with me.  

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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