Measurable IEP goals that address Executive Functioning deficits – Autism Connection of Pennsylvania (2023)

Another post by popular demand! If you are visiting here for the first time, make sure you check out my500 SDIs post. That post took forever to do, but it is gets used so I’m happy that it was worth the effort. But as a result of that post, I have heard many times from readers and friends, “great! Now please do one for an IEP goal bank.” That to me is just such an overwhelming task, I can barely wrap my brain around it. I mean, if you think of all the kids, and all the special needs and challenges….and all the different goal possibilities. It would take months to list them all.

But, recently I was asked if I would come up with a list of IEP goals for Executive Functioning. That is a bit more manageable. It’s a small bite, so I decided to take it. Much like that giant SDIs post which gets revised often, I expect this one to do the same. As people find the post and read it, they will email me and leave me comments. I take those comments and add them to the post.

Related Posts:Implementing Executive Functioning Strategies in your IEPandAwesome Apps for Executive Functioning Gaps

Also, in doing the research for this post, I came across an awesome PDF resource, so here it is.

(Video) One IEP Goal EVERY Child Needs

everything executive functioning handbook

I don’t know where that school district is, but I am uploading it and providing it in it’s entirety. When I find PDF resources like this, I like to do that, because over time, good content gets pulled from the internet and links get broken. This way, we’ll always have it!

I have organized the IEP Executive Functioning goals by the area that they target. Any goal can be taken from a general phrase to measurable by adding parameters. To do this,you need to know the baselines. In other words–how often is this student doing this skill now? How many times per day or week? How many teacher check-ins or verbal prompts is it taking to get this done? Know what the numbers are now, and choose a reasonable, measurable number for them to achieve. You can’t measure progress without baselines.

Also, since Executive Functioning is so broad, here are some questions for parents and teachers to talk about, to determine what needs to be worked on. One phrase that is often used is:Goal, Plan, Predict, Do, Review. So together someone works with the student to discuss the goal, plan what needs to be done, predict what could go wrong or what supplies/time you’ll need, do the goal and then review the work.

(Video) How I Work On IEP Goals In My Classroom

Questions to ask parents:

  • What tasks does your child need help with at home?
  • How often do you need to explain how to do a task?
  • Does your child have trouble concentrating?
  • Does your child lose things?
  • Does your child get upset with change?
  • Does your child often interrupt others?
  • Can your child plan ahead for activities?

Questions for teachers:

(Video) Social/Emotional Learning as goals and services in the IEP....Just as important as Academics

  • Does the student get distracted easily?
  • Does the student have an organized backpack or locker?
  • Can the child fix their own mistakes?
  • Is the child aware of the consequences of their words or actions?
  • Does the student demonstrate incomplete or careless work?
  • Can the student develop plans and strategies?

First, I found these two goals online and the suggested monitoring process was the various parts of the WISC. I know that education is becoming very data driven, but I do have concerns about a student being able to do the skills for a test, but not being able to apply it across all environments. Still, here are the two goal suggestions.

  • Student will develop the ability to attend to individual tasks and will improve processing speed through the use of timers and cuing utilized with the entire class in the general classroom.
  • Student will successfully complete 12 or more weeks of a proven cognitive enhancement program that addresses deficits in processing speed, short-term working memory, attention to detail, monitoring, sequencing and organization skills, with instruction, for at least 1 hour per day every week day, to alleviate affects of executive functioning disorder deficits.

Self-Awareness/Self Advocacy goals for an IEP:

  • Given a specific routine for monitoring task success, such as Goal-Plan-Do-Check, student will accurately identify tasks that are easy/difficult for him
  • Given a difficult task, student will (verbally or nonverbally) indicate that it is difficult
  • Student will explain why some tasks are easy/difficult for him, help develop management strategies
  • Student will request help when tasks are difficult
  • Student will offer help to others when he is more capable than the other child
  • If student has negative behaviors, debriefing session held at appropriate time and place and student is able to identify his triggers and possible strategies.

Organizing goals for an IEP:

  • Given support and visual cues, student will create a system for organizing personal items in his locker/desk/notebook
  • To tell an organized story, student will place photographs in order and then narrate the sequence of events. Given visual cues and fading adult support, student will select and use a system to organize his assignments and other school work
  • Given a complex task, student name will organize the task on paper, including the materials needed, the steps to accomplish the task, and a time frame
  • Using learned strategies and given fading adult support, student will prepare an organized outline before proceeding with writing projects.
    student will improve organization skills for classroom work and homework through specific, repetitive instruction, and use of (list SDIs or supports) and measured by a frequency or %

Self-Monitoring, Self-Evaluating goals for an IEP:

(Video) Strategies for Setting Data Driven Behavioral IEP Goals

  • Given training in a self regulatory routine and visual cues and fading adult supports, student will accurately predict how effectively he will accomplish a task. For example, he will accurately predict whether or not he will be able to complete a task; predict how many (of something) he can finish; predict his grade on tests; predict how many problems he will be able to complete in a specific time period; etc.
  • Given a specific work checking routine, student will identify errors in his work without teacher assistance.
    student’s rating of his performance on a 10-point scale will be within one point of the teacher’s rating.
  • Student will self-initiate editing activities to correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar on all typical classroom assignments in all settings
  • Student will self-edit his work to correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar on all typical classroom assignments in all settings to eliminate all errors from his work

Problem Solving goals for an IEP:

  • Given training in and visual reminders of, self regulatory scripts student will manage unexpected events and violations of routine without disrupting classroom activities
  • Student will use a structured recipe or routine for generating new ideas, or brainstorming to respond successfully to open ended assignments
  • When faced with changes and/or transitions in activities or environments, student will initiate the new activity after {decreasing number of supports}
  • Given concrete training, visual supports and fading adult cuing, student will appropriately label flexible and stuck behaviors in himself
  • Given training and practice with the concept of compromise, and in the presence of visual supports, student will accept and generate compromise solutions to conflicts when working cooperatively with others

Personal goal setting/self correction and improvement:

  • Student will participate with teachers and therapists in setting instructional and therapy goals
  • Given explicit instruction, visual reminders, and fading adult support, student will successfully distinguish target goals (doing well in school, making a friend, learning to read, graduating from school) from interfering goals (playing video games instead of doing homework)
  • Having failed to achieve a predicted grade on a test, student will create a plan for improving performance for the next test

Keeping track of time/planning/time management:

  • Given a routine, student will indicate what steps or items are needed and the order of the events
  • Student will learn (after helping to develop) a self regulatory plan for carrying out any multiple step task (completing homework, writing an essay, doing a project) and given practice, visual cues and fading adult supports, will apply the plan independently to new situations
  • Given a selection of 3 activities for a therapy or instructional session, student will indicate their order, create a plan on paper and stick to the plan
  • Given a task that he correctly identifies as difficult for him, student will create a plan for accomplishing the task


(Video) IDEA: Understanding Measurable Goals on the IEP

Please share:


What are executive functioning IEP goals? ›

Executive Functions IEP Goals

Executive function is an umbrella term for cognitive processes such as planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, mental flexibility, multi-tasking, initiation, and monitoring of actions.

What are some IEP goals for autism? ›

IEP goals for autism
  • Joint attention.
  • Social reciprocity (give and take during conversational tasks)
  • Language and related cognitive skills.
  • Behavioral and emotional regulation.

What are some measurable IEP goals and objectives? ›

Some examples of possible IEP goal focus areas identified within the present levels are: Reading comprehension, fluency skills, communication, time-management, self-advocacy, self-regulation, organization, independent travel, interpersonal and social skills, college and career exploration, math skills, fine motor ...

How do you write a measurable goal for an IEP? ›

To begin the process of writing measurable annual goals, the IEP team should:
  1. Start with the academic and functional needs identified in the PLAAFP statements.
  2. Identify any relevant state academic standards for the student's grade.
  3. Discuss what the student should be able to achieve during the next 12 months.

What are 3 activities that require executive functioning? ›

Planning, organization, time management, and self-control. These are just a few of the extremely critical executive functioning skills that we use every day to accomplish tasks and be successful.

What is executive function deficit in autism? ›

Many people with autism have difficulty with executive functioning. They may have trouble with certain skills like planning, staying organized, sequencing information, and self-regulating emotions. Some people pay attention to minor details, but have trouble seeing how these details fit into a bigger picture.

What are the 3 core deficits of autism? ›

These disorders are characterized by three core deficits: impaired communication, impaired reciprocal social interaction and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviors or interests.

How do you write IEP goals and objectives examples? ›

SMART IEP goals and objectives

Write down several statements about what you want your child to know and be able to do. Revise these statements into goals that are specific, measurable, use action words, are realistic, and time-limited. Break down each goal into a few measurable short-term steps.

What are the two main goals for a student with an IEP? ›

The goals for academic achievement and functional performance set for your child are the core of the IEP. As a parent, you play an important role in developing these goals.

What are measurable goals examples? ›

And that's why it's so important to develop measurable goals that are specific, time-bound, achievable, relevant, and summarizable.
Examples Of Good Measurable Objectives
  • Increasing sales by 10%
  • Writing 500 words per day.
  • Losing 1-2 pounds per week.
  • Adding 10 new customers and increasing overall website traffic by 20%.
Nov 24, 2022

What are some good measurable goals? ›

Measurable: I will finish writing 60,000 words in 6 months. Achievable: I will write 2,500 words per week. Relevant: I've always dreamed of becoming a professional writer. Time-bound: I will start writing tomorrow on January 1st, and finish June 30th.

What is an example of a measurable performance goal? ›

Examples of performance goals for employees. I will increase my daily sales calls by 20% by the end of the month. Specific: The employee needs to increase their sales calls. Measurable: They need to increase those calls by 20 percent.

What are some examples of measurable behavior? ›

The word measurable implies that something can be observed and/or counted in some manner. Behaviors such as walking up the stairs unassisted, asking a friend to play, and pretending that a block is a phone are observable, and therefore measurable.

What are the 5 measurable criteria? ›

SMART refers to a specific criteria for setting goals and project objectives. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The idea is that every project goal must adhere to the SMART criteria to be effective.

What is an example of measurable criteria? ›

Measurable: I will pitch my first three clients within two weeks, aiming to pitch five per week thereafter. Achievable: I will competently outline what I can do for businesses, I will perfect my pitch, and work on my portfolio.

What activities strengthen executive functioning? ›

Physical activities that require constant monitoring of your environment like soccer, baseball, and flashlight tag improve executive function skills. Playing a musical instrument, singing, and dancing all improve attention, cognitive flexibility, and inhibition.

What strategies support executive functioning needs? ›

Some easy ways to help students improve executive function include: Post a daily schedule. Clear and consistent routines and procedures offer structure to students. Provide visual supports such as posters with problem-solving steps or routines, and color-coded schedules and folders.

How do you strengthen executive function? ›

8 Useful Tools That You Can Start Using Today
  1. Make a Daily To-Do List. Creating a daily list of tasks and projects can help to improve the challenges of executive function disorder. ...
  2. Use a Calendar. ...
  3. Learn How to Manage Your Time. ...
  4. Take Notes. ...
  5. Use Reminders. ...
  6. Keep It Simple. ...
  7. Relax and Breathe. ...
  8. Stay Organized.
Aug 20, 2022

How do you improve executive functioning in autism? ›

Through the results of three measurements, it was found that virtual training and physical exercise improved the executive function of children with ASD.

How is executive function deficit treated? ›

Treatment options may include:
  1. stimulant medications.
  2. antidepressants.
  3. antipsychotic medications.
  4. psychoeducation.
  5. occupational or speech therapy.
  6. cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

How do executive functioning skills help autism? ›

By directly attending to teaching and prompting the use of gestures, parents, teachers, and providers have the potential to help individuals with ASD improve their ability to solve problems, achieve goals, keep information in their working memory, and shift more flexibly between tasks.

What part of the brain is damaged in autism? ›

Four social brain regions, the amygdala, OFC, TPC, and insula, are disrupted in ASD and supporting evidence is summarized; these constitute the proposed common pathogenic mechanism of ASD. Symptomatology is then addressed: widespread ASD symptoms can be explained as direct effects of disrupted social brain regions.

What are 3 ways structure supports students with autism? ›

This chapter discusses the features of structure that have proven useful in classrooms for students of all ages with autism. These features are physical organization, scheduling, and teaching methods. The key to effectively using each of these features is individualization.

What are 3 examples of language deficits in individuals with ASD? ›

Below are some patterns of language use and behaviors that are often found in children with ASD.
  • Repetitive or rigid language. ...
  • Narrow interests and exceptional abilities. ...
  • Uneven language development. ...
  • Poor nonverbal conversation skills.
Apr 13, 2020

What are the 3 most important parts of an IEP? ›

The three parts of an IEP goal: current level of performance, specific and measurable goal, and service delivery all need to support each other.

What is a strong IEP goal? ›

Effective IEP goals are strengths-based and SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound. You can track your child's progress toward IEP goals throughout the year to stay informed.

What should a good IEP goal include? ›

IEP goals include three components that must be stated in measurable terms: (a) direction of behavior (increase, decrease, maintain, etc.) (b) area of need (i.e., reading, writing, social skills, transition, communication, etc.) (c) level of attainment (i.e., to age level, without assistance, etc.)

What is an example of a SMART IEP goal? ›

The process for monitoring the student's progress is often included in the IEP goals themselves. For example, a SMART goal listed previously reads as follows: "Penelope will be able to solve two-digit addition problems with 75 percent accuracy as measured by work samples, teacher-charted data, and standardized tests."

What are the three types of functional needs IEP? ›

The IEP describes what the school will provide, given the child's unique needs for specific functional skills.
Or you can begin by listing categories of functional skills:
  • Life Skills.
  • Functional Academic Skills.
  • Community-Based Learning Skills.
  • Social Skills.

How do you determine measurable goals? ›

Identifying if your goals are measurable: To ensure your goal is measurable, consider using time as a metric. You can do this by establishing a timeline, which can help you determine how many tasks to complete, how much time to spend on each task and how much time it may take to achieve your overall goal.

What are the 3 types of goals examples? ›

There are three types of goals- process, performance, and outcome goals.
  • Process goals are specific actions or 'processes' of performing. For example, aiming to study for 2 hours after dinner every day . ...
  • Performance goals are based on personal standard. ...
  • Outcome goals are based on winning.

How do you write measurable smart goals? ›

How to set SMART goals
  1. Make your goal specific.
  2. Make your goal measurable.
  3. Make your goal achievable.
  4. Make sure it is relevant.
  5. Create a time-bound schedule.
Dec 12, 2019

What are the three 3 examples of performance measurement systems? ›

Examples include balanced scorecards, ISO standards and industry dashboards. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are at the heart of any system of performance measurement and target-setting. When properly used, they are one of the most powerful management tools available to growing businesses.

What are measurable goals for behavior? ›

Measurable goals define a specific skill and/or behavior that is objective and can be observed. Often, the description of the behavior or skill should be written in the PLAAFP.

What are measurable outcomes examples? ›

➢ Verbs that denote a clearly measurable outcome include, for example: Produce, explain, compile, identify, create, analyze, design, select, apply, prepare, utilize/use, predict, compute, compare, assess, evaluate, outline, revise, plan, present, construct, list, critique, etc.

What is a measurable behavioral objective? ›

A behavioral objective is a learning outcome stated in measurable terms, which gives direction to the learner's experience and becomes the basis for student evaluation. Objectives may vary in several respects. They may be general or specific, concrete or abstract, cognitive, affective, or psychomotor.

How do you set goals examples? ›

27 More Examples of Personal Goals
  • Find a career that you love.
  • Find a life partner.
  • Become an expert or leader in your field.
  • Go for a walk every day.
  • Become a better listener.
  • Buy your first home.
  • Save X number of dollars for retirement.
  • Give back to your community in ways that matter to you.

What do you write in measurement criteria? ›

Measurement Criteria
  1. Identify and examine the stakeholders' needs and expectations.
  2. Decide on the metrics that will be used for the program and its projects.
  3. Decide on the target values and threshold values for these metrics.
  4. Review the metrics and their values with the stakeholders for approval and buy-in.

How do you write a goal statement? ›

How do I write a personal goal statement?
  1. Focus on your passions.
  2. Understand what your goal entails.
  3. Visualize the future you want.
  4. Use the SMART method of goal setting.
  5. Make an action plan.
  6. Be flexible.
Jul 20, 2022

How do you create a measurable learning outcome? ›

How To Create Learning Outcomes You Can Measure
  1. Identify What Your Organizational Objectives Are. ...
  2. Perform A Training Needs Analysis (TNA) ...
  3. Establish Behavioral And Knowledge Boundaries. ...
  4. Create Action-Based Goals For Learners. ...
  5. Assess For Measurable Gain.
Feb 21, 2022

What are measurable student learning outcomes? ›

Measurable Learning Outcomes state what a learner will be able to do by the end of a course.

What is a measurable outcome? ›

Measurable outcomes mean that reality can be separated from rhetoric; in short, a better deal all round. Value was judged solely by measurable outcomes such as productivity, efficiency or costeffectiveness. Of 36 trusts they surveyed, the majority had failed to generate measurable outcomes.

What are examples of executive functioning skills? ›

Executive function is responsible for many skills, including:
  • Paying attention.
  • Organizing, planning, and prioritizing.
  • Starting tasks and staying focused on them to completion.
  • Understanding different points of view.
  • Regulating emotions.
  • Self-monitoring (keeping track of what you're doing)

What are executive functioning examples? ›

Being able to focus, hold, and work with information in mind, filter distractions, and switch gears is like having an air traffic control system at a busy airport to manage the arrivals and departures of dozens of planes on multiple runways. In the brain, this air traffic control mechanism is called executive function.

What are functional goals examples? ›

Refer to the following examples: Goal: José will participate in meals, self-care routines and when moving from one activity to another by using three- to four-word phrases to make requests of adults, two times a day for two weeks. of adults, two times a day for two weeks.

Is executive function a form of autism? ›

It is important to note that executive functioning issues are not part of the diagnostic criteria for autism. That is, autism is a neurodevelopmental condition defined by social-communication differences and restricted/repetitive patterns of behavior.

What is the best assessment to measure executive function? ›

Some of the more common rating scales that are used include the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions (BRIEF), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBLC), and the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC).

How can I help my child with poor executive function? ›

Interventions involving physical activity (such as aerobic exercise or yoga practice), as well as organized sports activities (such as soccer or basketball) and martial arts benefit the development of executive skills, as they require children to hold rules and strategies in mind, adapt flexibly to others' actions, and ...

What part of the brain controls executive function? ›

The executive system involves the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia and thalamus. The frontal lobes are the last areas of the brain to fully develop.

What can you do as a teacher to help build students executive functioning skills? ›

Some easy ways to help students improve executive function include:
  • Post a daily schedule. ...
  • Provide visual supports such as posters with problem-solving steps or routines, and color-coded schedules and folders. ...
  • Minimize clutter and create clearly defined areas in the classroom.
Nov 9, 2018

What do problems with executive functioning look like? ›

Some examples of executive dysfunction include: Being very distractible or having trouble focusing on just one thing. Focusing too much on just one thing. Daydreaming or “spacing out” when you should be paying attention (such as during a conversation, meeting, class, etc.).

Is executive functioning a developmental disability? ›

Abstract. Executive functions are a set of high cognitive abilities that control and regulate other functions and behaviors and are crucial for successful adaptation. Deficits in executive functions are frequently described in developmental disorders, which are characterized by disadaptive behavior.

What is lack of executive functioning skills? ›

People with executive dysfunction and/or ADHD commonly lack the ability to handle frustration, start and finish tasks, recall and follow multi-step directions, stay on track, self monitor, and balance tasks (like sports and academic demands). Remediating the area of deficit reduces academic or work difficulties.

What are functional skills for an IEP? ›

Functional skills are skills an individual needs to live as independently as possible. Functional skills describe the routine activities of everyday life -- communication, mobility, behavior, social skills, and daily living skills.

What are sample IEP goals for daily living skills? ›

When adding daily living activities to the IEP, they should include things like personal hygiene, cooking or preparing meals, budgeting money, and having good time management skills. They are the basic things that everyone needs to do in order to survive and live independently.

What is a functional goal in special education? ›

It identifies the behavior or skill caregivers/instructors want the individual to learn or accomplish, the context in which the skill will be taught, and a quantifiable level of mastery. Functional goals should be developed so that they are implemented and practiced within the individual's daily routine.


1. Writing IEP Goals to Align with Common Core Standards & Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
(Demonstrated Success)
2. Writing IEP Goals Aligned to Grade-Level Content Connectors
( IEP Technical Assistance Center)
3. IEP Battle | Parents VS. The School System | Special Education Decoded
(Special Education Resource)
4. HOW TO WRITE IEPs| IEP 101 Writing for New Teachers
(The Behavior Check In)
5. New Goals and Objectives design in EDPlan
(Oklahoma State Department of Education)
6. Transition Plans Despite the Barriers: Practical Tips to Achieve the Right Transition IEP Under IDEA
(National Council on Severe Autism)


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