Classroom Freebies

Susan Berkowitz’s Free IEP Objectives for AAC Users

Just in time for the new IEP or school year, here are some guidelines to follow when writing IEP objectives for students who use AAC systems.  One of the common pitfalls in writing these objectives is the way we try to create measurable targets out of less-than-easily-measureable language skills.


I often see IEP objectives written for making a request for (X item/activity) Y# times/day.  How do we know the student is going to want to request (X) every day, let alone a given number of times.  Why do we focus on specific, structured, responses when we don’t actually know what the students is going to want to say? And, finally, why can’t we write objectives for increasing the variety of functions of communication used, or the complexity of the “utterance” rather than counting the number of times Johnny says, “X?”

Gayle Porter and Linda Burkhart have addressed this issue well in Gayle’s PODD trainings.  I have attempted to summarize their thoughts for distribution to others as often as I can.  So, take this information with you to the next IEP meeting for a nonspeaking student, and see how it can change how your write IEPs and measure communication interactions.