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How to Make IEP's Inclusive

Let me start off by saying, hi. I have been attending Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings since 2010. I have joined as an aide, a special education teacher, a specialist, in the transition into school and out of school, and was a case manager for my caseload for 5 years. I have sat in IEP meetings with advocates and lawyers and voice recorders and I have sat in IEP meetings with parents who just want to sign and leave.

I am not saying I am a professional at IEP's as every district has their own program and system that works for them, but this article will teach YOU how to add inclusive portions into the IEP goals to encourage more inclusion, legally.

This picture isn't of me.. I just felt like I needed a legal looking picture in here. Ok, let's get going.

Summary: An IEP is a legal document that is worked on (at minimum) annually with the child's educational team but should be referenced throughout the year. An IEP has sections for everything; present levels, strengths/weaknesses (ugh to that word), behavior intervention plans (if needed), percentage in general education setting (schools usually include recess and lunch even if students are still not actually being included), related services, notes, archives, etc.

IEP meetings are held annually and everyone from the team must be there, this includes, administrator, special education teacher, general education teacher, service providers, parents, and a school representative.

I strongly suggest students being there and learning to run or advocate for themselves during IEP meetings, but that is a whole other post and that is not what we are focusing on today.

Lastly, IEPs can be long. Some teams argue. Sometimes people cry. It can be a very emotional meeting and a lot of discussion can be taking place. It can be tricky finding compromise between all of the team.

When I run trainings for teams, if the training is IEP focused or not, I will usually slip this comic in their to remind everyone that the child has a parent and that parent knows their child best. IEP meetings are a time for the professionals to give their opinion about their child in the most positive way possible and come up with goals for future success.

Now let me get off my soapbox and talk to you about just one section of the IEP. A very big and important section. The goals.

IEP Goals: Again, I have seen goals written in many different ways. But it is very important for IEPs to have 7 elements that modernteacher breaks down beautifully more in her explanation, but in summary..

  • Date.

  • Condition.

  • Functional Performance Indicator.

  • Observable Behavior.

  • Criteria.

  • Mastery.

  • Measurement.

Let me give you an example.

Before you come at me that this isn't inclusive. You are right. So, let's make it inclusive.

TIps to make it inclusive: Really all you are doing is adding some sort of peer interaction to make it inclusive. Putting the peer interaction IN the goal means you HAVE to track data when the student is being included.

Yes, this is a little tricky. But if anyone complains you can tell them this,

"[Student's Name] is apart of this school and we should be providing them with the best support that we can provide. It has been scientifically proven that inclusion works and is the best practice for students with disabilities to learn academically, gain confidence, and form genuine relationships. So suck it." Ok maybe don't say that last line.

Some of these examples are similar but have wording to differentiate a peer from a non-disabled peer. I would say this depends on your school, but saying non-disabled peer makes it clear to the reader of the IEP that this does not mean a peer that is in the child's special education classroom.

Here are ways to slide in that inclusive detail:

  • With support from a non-disabled peer

  • With support from a peer

  • While working in a group with non-disabled peers

  • While working in a group with peers

Also, make some goals that are focused on inclusion. Have communication goals WITH non-disabled peers. Have physical therapy during P.E. with non-disabled peers. Have inclusion be apart of your day because it has to be because it is in the student's IEP.


These are goals I googled and found online and made a little add-on to make it inclusive.

I also created a handout for my subscribers to write your own student's current goals and give you more of a visual to make their goals more inclusive.

Ok, here you go!

Univided is another great resource and they have a solid article about how to make IEPs inclusive that you can check out here.

Looking for more information on the subject?

Become a member of Inclusion Starts Now ($2.99 a month) and you will also be receiving

  • how to train non-disabled peers (I will discuss the importance of building an equal relationship)

  • worksheets to help you make your own goals inclusive

  • one-page hand out for an IEP goal cheat sheet!

Inclusion starts with you and I just want to help!

Kayla xx


And if you wanna keep reading...



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