strength based iep

From: ash
Date: 1/31/2002
Time: 12:16:05 PM
Remote Name:



"In educational situations, it is essential that parents understand the nature of the weak areas, what skills need to be learned to strengthen those areas, and how the strong areas can be used to help remediate the child's weak areas." http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/tests_measurements.html

Subject: Do teachers' lesson plans reflect children's IEP goals and objectives?

the IEP journey are listed below in question form. Answering yes to these questions and the ones posed in a later section (reviewing the IEP) indicates that our destination may be in sight.

Do teachers' lesson plans reflect children's IEP goals and objectives? Is the staff person responsible for teaching an objective(s) monitoring the child's progress as indicated on the IEP? Are the periodic reviews taking place as scheduled or as needed? Are related services being provided as indicated on the IEP? Has an IEP meeting been scheduled to discuss expected changes in objectives, goals, services, and/or placement? Does instruction focus on the child's strengths and needs? Are team members working together to implement IEP goals and objectives? Have friendships and natural supports been facilitated within the school and community for full implementation of the child's program? Has the team made appropriate instructional modifications in order to support the child's participation in integrated school and community settings? http://www.hyperlexia.org/iep_roadmap.html

Using the PEPSI to identify Student Strengths and Growth Needs Once a PEPSI profile is established, there is a graphic representation of a student's strengths and weaknesses. Use the following example of a seven year old youngster to practice looking for student strengths and areas that might be important to focus on as part of an individual education plan.

Area Strengths Build-ons Physical Good large muscle coordination Dresses self Prints own name Not washing hands after toileting Needs help tying shoes Runs out of energy before tasks are completed

Emotional Very trusting Enjoys helping when asked Tattles to solve problems with peers Has frequent tantrums Very stubborn, willful

Philosophical Wants to be praised Usually tells the truth Very loving Bossy with others Takes others' things and cries when confronted No recognition of others' needs

Social Likes to please the teacher Loves to organize things Tends to interact with adults or play alone Possessive

Intellectual Counts to ten Writes own name when asked Reads twenty sight words Likes to copy from the board Preschool grade level work Five minute attention span Not able to follow two consecutive directions

Now, write two objectives for each of the PEPSI areas. Stay focused on strengthening the student's potential. Try to address one of the objectives toward strengths the student already has.
















Building on a Child's Strengths When I'm called upon to assist a child who is struggling in school, I find the spotlight is often focused on a child's weaknesses. This is particularly common for the child with poor social skills, communication skills, learning disabilities, and/or any other disability. Children with disabilities already feel they are different. It is up to us to teach all children that different is not bad, and that each of us has special strengths. We can help that process along by showcasing every child's special interest and strengths.

Years of remedial effort have been poured into fixing what's broken, the deficit, rather than capitalizing on the strength and what works. In other words, if a child can't read, hours are spent teaching that child with methods that didn't work in the first place. If there are behavior issues, the same punitive measures are used over-and-over, yet there's no improvement.

When the spotlight shifts onto areas where your child shines, in his/her areas of strengths and personal interest, there are often very dramatic changes in work effort and negative behaviors often dramatically diminish.

Child psychologist and recognized authority on ADHD, Dr. Robert Brooks, developed the term "islands of competence" in reference to these areas of strength. I interpret his concept in the following way:

Everyone has strengths, but sometimes they're not obvious. We must find those areas of strength and build on them. Every person must feel they are making a contribution to their environment. If we accept both these concepts, the obvious thing to do is to build upon them. Every child must feel important and every child must taste success. Once academic needs are determined and appropriate services are in place, it's extremely important to begin building self-confidence and self-reliance. It's essential to have a concerted effort both at home and at school, with clear communication between the school officials and the parents.

Dr. Brooks likes for each of his young patients to have a special job at school in an area related to the child's interests and needs. It can be something like feeding pets or taking attendance to the office monitor. This can take creativity and ingenuity, but it's essential.

The schools I visit are sometimes resistant to this effort. After all, only recently has there been such emphasis on this positive approach to resolve behavior issues or low self-esteem problems. Sometimes school personnel look at us like we've lost a few screws. But it works! Inappropriate behaviors diminish, the child walks taller, often begins to show improved self-confidence, and demonstrates reliability. He feels needed and recognized for his efforts.

Sadly, the child with a disability that impacts behavior and social skills is often the last picked to help out with different tasks. In reality, it's one of the single most effective tools to help your child gain self-confidence.

The focus of scholastic effort must also be on the child's strengths. Following, are just few examples and suggestions for compensating effectively for weaknesses and building on strengths.

If your child has excellent verbal skills and creativity, but writing is a struggle, you might ask for daily use of a computer. If a child demonstrates such a need, (and I see this often in ADHD and learning disabilities), than the school is responsible for providing that assistive technology. Remember your child doesn't have to settle for the broken computer in the corner of the room (which happens all too frequently). Any needed equipment must be in working order and be made available in the regular learning environment. If you're concerned about the condition of equipment, you can stipulate in any 504 plan or IEP that the equipment be in working order and located in an area immediately accessible to the student. Perhaps your child grasps math concepts, but has difficulty performing the actual calculations on paper. A calculator is a great assistive device for such children. There might be complaints that the child has to first learn math the "old fashioned way." Practical experience has taught me that if a child can't perform very basic math calculations by, say, the fifth grade, it will probably always be somewhat difficult. Is he/she going to suddenly become proficient in this area when an adult or count fingers? Most likely not. This person will buy a calculator for as little as $5.00 and finally become successful in performing practical arithmetic calculations. Why not start early to help the person with a math disability progress rapidly with the concepts by using a calculator to bypass the disability? This is not to say a child should not continue to work on mastery of calculations as well. Or take the fifth-grader who's struggling with second-grade spelling, perhaps spending as much as two hours a night trying to learn a list of twenty words. The most common modification, if any is made at all, is to cut the list in half. What if we let that child spend spelling time becoming computer literate? With the use of a spell checker and word processor program to offset organizational difficulties and spelling difficulties, children suddenly blossom into creative authors. A child who is very distractible in the classroom can show dramatic improvement when work is produced on a computer. Headphones can also enhance learning. Many children with ADHD tend to lose the thought somewhere between brain and pencil, but are excellent writers when using a computer. There seems to be an instant direct connection between brain and screen. Organizational skills show improvement. Problem solving skills are also honed on the computer, bypassing faulty circuitry that gets in the way of real learning. In each of these instances weaknesses are diminished by technology that levels the playing field for people with disabilities. The spotlight then shifts from the writing weakness to the content strengths. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/1580/strengths.html

An excellent way to actively involve all those invested in the inclusion process is to implement the MAPS process when developing the child's IFSP/IEP. MAPS stands for Making Action Plans or the McGill Action Planning System. The Kansas State Board of Education has available a manual and videotape which describes the actual MAPS process in detail entitled MAPS: A Plan for Including All Children in Schools (1990). The MAPS manual and videotape might prove to be helpful in developing strategies for creating a user friendly and functional IFSP/IEP for children attending inclusive early childhood programs. Information presented in the MAPS manual is geared toward older students, however we have found that by using a modified MAPS system we have been able to create IFSP's/IEP's which are built upon the childĻs strengths and prove to be functional within the inclusive setting. http://www.circleofinclusion.org/pim/seven/maps.html

2. What happens next?

Development of Goals and Objectives

Goals and objectives should be based on assessment, and should focus on using a student's strengths and interest to address areas of identified need. The best objectives contain specific information about what we want a student to achieve, how instruction will support the mastery of the goal, and are measurable.


IDEA 1997 brings several changes to the IEP and the IEP team. Not only will the role of the IEP team dramatically increase, the IEP will move from a deficit-based educational plan to one that is strength-based. IDEA 1997 is based on the belief that the majority of students with disabilities can participate in the general education curriculum to varying degrees.


The student's areas of strength and need. Whereas a statement of needs identifies the student's weaknesses, a statement of strengths identifies the student's own "tools" which can be used to address the weaknesses. The basis for these statements should be the description contained in the IPRC's statement. These statements might take the form "Student demonstrates significant strength in..." and "Student requires significant instruction/ support to ...."For example, "Student demonstrates significant strength in auditory learning"; "Student requires significant instruction/support to develop reading skills."

Goals for the student. Goals should be based on the strengths and needs of the student and represent the best prediction of what the student should be able to accomplish by the end of the school year http://www.ldao.on.ca/articles/newiprc.html

The IEP is a written document outlining the who, what, when, why, where and how of instruction and related services that are to be provided to a student with disabilities. IEPs are built upon the strengths of individual students and are designed to help each student achieve success in school, at home, at work, and in the community.

The IEP Implementation Checklist p The IEP has been shared and discussed with appropriate staff members and service providers. p Instruction focuses on the studentís strengths and needs. p Instruction reflects stated IEP goals and objectives. p Identified modifications and accommodations are being provided. p A designated IEP team member is monitoring the studentís progress.


Strength Based Planning

Identify the strengths and resources of the student and student's family and use these strengths and resources to develop an effective IEP and / or other service plan. One full day offered once in the fall and once in the spring.

Target Group: Administrators, SPED teachers, social workers, FSWs, Counselors, CSSS, 504 Site: District Trainer: Felix Training Institute http://rrsc.k12.hi.us/sped/kauai/kwsp2.htm

D. Exceptionally Appropriate Practices 1) Writes IEPs using a strength-based approach http://www.bgsu.edu/org/focus/preschool.pdf

Strength-based assessments

Create Strength-based Functional Behavior Assessments/Interventions Train on the development of Strength-based IEPís http://www.air.org/TAPartnership/consultant_pool/bios/w_hussey.htm

A good IEP has objectives that focus on a studentís strengths and aim for positive outcomes http://www.acl.on.ca/Daily_News/2001/oct01/oct17.htm

The result of the teamwork is and IEP that embraces Johnís strengths and the teamís goals http://www.region3.net/Region%20_III/Ann_Rpt/99_annual_report/annual_report11.html

Based on the childís needs while building upon the childís strengths, the team drafts both annual goals and short term learning outcomes. http://star.nm.org/deafblind/forms/facts/IEPDevelopment.pdf

The focus of the IEP should be the development of strategies to build on the child's strengths in order to remediate weaknesses and build self-esteem. Educators agree that the best strategy for helping the child with learning disabilities is to concentrate on strengthening the child's existing abilities, while working steadily to improve weaker skills. For example, if the child has excellent verbal skills but is totally frustrated putting thoughts on paper, the IEP might specify that his reports be given orally. If the child is strong in math and poor in reading, the IEP might specify having him coach a classmate who is struggling with math; reading support might include reading two key paragraphs in the sports section of the newspaper each night to a parent. http://www.ldac-taac.ca/ldindepth/six.htm

5. What are the individual's strengths, gifts and abilities? So often when educational teams get together, they dwell upon the things that the individual cannot do as opposed to identifying and building upon the strengths and abilities of the individual. The facilitator asks the participants to review the list which described the individual as a way to identify some of his or her strengths and unique gifts. In addition, they are instructed to think about what the individual can do, what he or she likes to do and what he or she does http://ssd.k12.mo.us/Inclusion/maps.htm

This full-day workshop is designed develop participantsí skills in the implementation of research-validated educational programming for students with Autism and other significant disabilities according to IDEA Ď97. It is intended for all staff working with this population in an elementary through secondary environment. First, participants will learn to develop and monitor IEPís using a strength-based approach, implement proactive behavior and integration plans, and identify the major research-validated strategies used with this unique population. http://www.nasponline.org/pdf/prel_prog02_thurws.pdf

The studentís areas of strength and need. Whereas a statement of needs identifies the studentís weaknesses, a statement of strengths identifies the studentís own "tools" which can be used to address the weaknesses. The basis for these statements should be the description contained in the IPRCís statement. The statements might take the form "Student demonstrates significant strength inÖ" and "Student requires significant instruction/support to Ö" For example, "Student demonstrates significant strength in auditory learning"; "Student requires significant instruction/support to develop reading skills."

Goals for the student. Goals should be based on the strengths and needs of the student and represent the best prediction of what the student should be able to accomplish by the end of the school year.


Based on the child's needs while building upon the child's strengths, the team drafts both annual goals and short term learning outcomes. http://www.usdb.k12.ut.us/fss/hand7.htm

A child's strengths should be a part of any IEP and these strengths should be drawn upon when developing goals and objectives.

Strengths should be identified in all five areas described on page 1. In addition, strengths should not be limited to only academics and/or physical abilities. They can, and should, include interests skills, hobbies, peronal traits, etc.


* Matt is great at basketball. * Dylan is trying really hard to talk. * Benjamin knows how to use the computer. * Emily likes to play board games with other girls. * Nicole can read 4th grade textbooks.


We must develop individualized educational plans (IEPS) that give more than lip service to a child's strengths and that solidly reflect, in their goals and objectives, a desire to help children achieve success (rather than to "overcome their problems"). http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/articles/empower.htm

What are the parents and other school-based resource people trained to do? The content of the training is flexible and can be altered to respond to the goals of each participating school. However, resource people are expected to know how to: ∑ develop student-specific interventions ∑ conduct functional behavioral assessments (strength assessments) ∑ work with families as allies ∑ offer consultation for preparing strength-based IEPs ∑ describe proactive behavior management strategies ∑ work with community teams to create strength-based plans. http://www.wbgh.com/nrn/Integrating_Systems_of_Care_Through_Public_Schools.PDF

an Individualized Educational Plan is designed to assist the student to make reasonable academic gains utilizing his/her strengths and remediate weaknesses http://www.iusd.k12.ca.us/mp/general_info/support.htm

By assessing all intelligences, studentsí strengths can be recognized and utilized to address those weaknesses that are identified in the classroom context


Introduction On the following pages you will find a collection of educational strategies for students with learning differences . These strategies were collected over a four year period and are rooted in practice. Some of them arose out of conferences involving advisors and parents, and some from the creative teaching of the faculty. Still others came from the students themselves; bits of wisdom prefaced by, "Hey, I know something that works for me; why don't you try it!".

Rather than focusing solely on a student's difficulties, this collection of strategies addresses how to use a student's strengths to compensate for difficulties; how to celebrate and use those strengths in the classroom and at home. Rather than comparing the student to a normed group, we look for the peaks and valleys within that student's profile, i.e. "relative" strengths and difficulties. This "intra-student" rather than "inter-student" perspective is more meaningful for purposes of intervention.

This booklet is to be used by staff in conjunction with the student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and multi-sensory planning handout, and will be a vital resource for lesson planning and for discussion of a student's learning style. The booklet is divided into two sections, LONG TERM GOALS IN AREAS OF RELATIVE STRENGTH and LONG TERM GOALS IN AREAS OF RELATIVE DIFFICULTY. Long term goals are those areas of strengths and difficulties commonly referred to in a psychological - educational evaluation. Goals are alphabetized and there is a glossary of technical terms on the last page.


GALLERY 8:00AM-12:30PM Strength-Based IEP Sharon Gage http://ww2.stclair.k12.il.us/cgi-bin/roomres/rreventcal.asp?%5BVMonthNumber%5D=3&%5BVYear%5D=2001

annual goals are developed to meet the needs and

build on the strengths of that student http://home.rmci.net/ipul/flyers/iep.htm

How have the childís strengths been utilized to address the childís needs on the IEP? http://ww2.nekesc.org/ksde/archive/iepteam.pdf