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I know this is a broad question, but what methods do you use to determine new iep goals (especially for language)? For example, you work on a few skills one year and then how do you either continue that skill or think of another skill...if it's a totally new skill, how do you relate that to the present levels?

Also, as an SLP, I don't feel I know a lot about the content of the curriculum. However, I know I am supposed to help the student achieve success in his/her curriculum. Do you talk mostly with teachers to see what they're having difficulty with (e.g. learning new vocabulary) and then create a goal based on that (e.g. using strategies for vocab)?
If you are in CA, you can have access to the state's Speech and Language goal book which has goals under various language modalities .You may want to take ideas from it and frame your own goal that helps the student.
I determine goals 3 ways for grade school students who are your typical language delayed/disordered kids:

1. From test results that pinpoint specific weaknesses. For example, the Language Processing Test's subtest that looks at the skill of being able to describe words using attributes such as function, color, accessories, parts, etc. So if a student does poorly on that subtest, I might create a language goal for it.

2. From my own observations over the course of therapy. I ask myself: Does this child have the basics of language? By this, I mean are the students's grammar skills okay? Or is the student still lacking basic grammatical structures such as correct pronouns or irregular past tense verbs, etc? Can the child formulate complete sentences that are meaningful and coherent? Are the sentences simple or can he formulate complex sentences?

For a kindergartener or first or second grader, I might also look at their linguistic concept knowledge, which I consider "vocabulary." I want to know if they understand all those concepts like "few, many, first, last, after, before, over, next, several, " etc.

Most of my language kids have needed work on formulating complex sentences. I figure that if they cannot connect several ideas into one complex sentence, this will affect their written expression as well as their oral expression.

Besides asking myself if the child's basic grammar and sentence formulation skills are ok, I will ask myself what is it that most interferes with communication during normal conversation? This is a question that any layperson can answer, such as "He can't compose a complete sentence" "He has many grammatical mistakes" "He uses vague vocabulary like 'thing,' 'that', 'it', because he lacks the specific vocabulary that is needed." "It is hard to follow his train of thought."

If the child has the basic skills, then I look at "Higher level skills." These, to me, are things like understanding and expressing the main idea, inferences, details, conclusions, etc of a paragraph or short story. Or understanding figuarative language like idioms. At this level, the speech goals become more and more like curriculum goals.
For older kids, I might look more at the ability to organize their thoughts into written sentences or paragraphs. I like to teach the use of graphic organizers, specifically "Thinking Maps" to organize their thoughts. I have high schoolers now and I am doing this alot.

3. Yes, I ask the teacher what areas/skills she would most like to see the child work on. Usually, I determine what the nature of the goal will be (from testing, observation, teacher input), then I try to find a content standard that fits my goal. You should definitely get a copy of the language arts content standards for your state.

The adminstrator and the teacher at the iep meeting will be more impressed, and value you more, if they can make the connection between your goals in speech therapy and the child's success in the classroom. So the more your goals reflect the content standards, the more you will be perceived as being a true "support" staff person who supports the curriculum. Too often the teachers and even the administrators have little idea of what we really do in speech therapy. But they understand curricular goals.

You can also visit some of the classrooms after school when the teacher isn't so busy. Look at all the student work posted on the walls. It will definitely give you a better feel for what the teacher is teaching. Usually teachers are happy to explain the student work and the learning materials displayed in the room.

I find that language delayed kids often need work on all sorts of language skills. So what I don't get to this year, I can work on next year. So yes, I introduce new skills /goals all the time. For the skills that I am continuing, I reword them so it doesn't look like the kid is working on the exact same thing two or three years in a row. I might change the wording and the level of accuracy or whether they get visual or verbal prompts or not.

For skills that cross all the grade levels, like comprehending the main idea, etc, you can say "For 2nd grade reading materials, the student will....'
Then the next year you can continue the goal but write, "For 3rd grade reading materials, etc."

Hope this helps...
You need to go to LinguiSystems, or Super Duper, and buy an IEP book of goals for Speech Pathology. It is so organized that you will see where your student currently functions and where you think the student will go next. As you look under Speech, Articulation, Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatcis, etc., you will begin to see the whole picture.
There are literally a ton of language concepts that as a SLP you will incorpoate ito your sessions and these will carry over into the classroom to improve his response in other subjects
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