What Kinds Of Things Will Be Included In The IEP For My Child With Autism?

Question: What kinds of things will be included in the IEP for my child with autism?

Answer: The things that should be included in your child with autism's IEP should really target those areas that your child needs the most work. An IEP as it's developed is really the blueprint of what's going to happen with them in the school or in the school system whatever therapies and things like that they're going to be receiving.

With children with autism, it's important to put the majority of your goals on the social area because that's one of the hallmarks of autism. So, looking at things like how do they interact with other kids and writing goals that really target those areas. If, say your child doesn't like playing near other kids, starting a goal that starts them just being in proximity to other kids, and then working up towards interacting, initiating, responding and then more advanced skills.

As they get older, you may want to focus on sort of those unwritten rules of school like not tattling on your friends, following the school rules, what is bullying, can you tell when you're being bullied and things like that and what to do about it.

The second area you want to really focus on is communication skills from teaching your child to initially talk to once they have language -- really how do you have a conversation with peers and stay on topic in that sort of thing. Other services you may be able to receive would be like speech therapy, but making sure it targets those areas your child really has deficits in. Occupational therapy -- if they're having problems with handwriting or gross motor movements.

If your child has any sort of inappropriate behaviors, making sure you have a behavioral intervention plan is important. The plan should really target the behavior in how to teach a replacement behavior in sort of a more positive preventative way than just a consequence base. So, say your child hits another child, you want to teach them another way to initiate and really give them a lot of praise for those initiations, not if you hit someone you go to the principal's office because they may like that consequence. So, you'd want to teach them things to do instead rather than just get rid of a behavior.