Future Reflections Winter/Spring 1990, Vol. 9 No. 1

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Report and a Sample IEP from the July 6,1989, IEP Workshop

by Barbara Cheadle and Doris Willoughby

The first IEP Workshop held at a National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind was in Arizona in 1987. It was an instant hit. Now, in just three short years, the IEP Workshop it is on the way to becoming a tradition at National Conventions.

Although the 1989 workshop had much competition--the Music Division Talent Contest, the NFB reception and dance, and several other committee meetings were all held the same evening--we managed to fill the meeting room with parents, teachers, and Federation advocates. Doris Willoughby of Iowa set up the workshop agenda and was the primary workshop leader. Mrs. Willoughby is a teacher of blind children and an author of several books and publications regarding the education of blind children. Other workshop leaders were: Barbara Cheadle, president of the Parents of Blind Children Division of the National Federation of the Blind; Denise Mackenstadt, member of the Northwest Chapter of the Parents Division and volunteer advocate for parents; and Mary Sonksen, Iowa teacher of blind children. (Shortly after the convention Mrs. Sonksen accepted the position of principal of the Minnesota Academy for the Blind.) Mrs. Willoughby began the workshop with an overview of the IEP process. Every year we have a mixture of new and experienced parents, so we always have a review for parents who are just learning what the IEP is all about.

Following the review, Denise Mackenstadt and Doris Willoughby discussed the new law affecting preschool handicapped children (P.L. 99457). Essentially, this law provides for federal financial assistance to states which establish a statewide program to provide services to handicapped infants and toddlers and their families. Since this law was only enacted in 1986, most states are still in the beginning stages of putting together their program.

Then came a discussion, led by Denise Mackenstadt, of the evaluation process --what it should contain and how to get an independent evaluation if it is needed. Following this discussion Doris Willoughby outlined how an evaluation should be used to build the IEP. Finally, Mary Sonksen gave a presentation about parents' rights and the due process procedures.

Each of the speakers distributed a variety of very useful and informative handouts. One of those handouts was a sample IEP provided by Doris Willoughby. Everyone in the workshop agreed that it was an excellent example of how IEP goals and objectives should be written. It also demonstrated how a partially-sighted, blind child would go about learning to effectively use a variety of reading modes, including Braille.

There are several cautions that do need to be placed on using this sample IEP, however. First of all, no two blind children are exactly alike in physical characteristics, abilities, or needs. That's why the education program is called "individualized." No one should take one child's IEP and attempt to use it, without modifications, for another child.

Second, and this ties in with the first caution, NONE of the objectives in this sample IEP are to be construed as the ultimate in what a fifth grade blind child can achieve. For example, the average blind child who has used Braille exclusively since kindergarten or first grade would be reading at grade-level or above and demonstrate considerably greater reading speed than those established in this sample IEP. The same is true for the cane-travel objectives. Many fifth-graders, providing they had early training and many experiences in getting about independently, would be far more independent than the objectives in this sample IEP indicate.

And finally, this sample does NOT include everything that your IEP includes. Nor does it necessarily use the same terminology. There is no standard IEP form. Even school districts within the same state can -- and do -- have different IEP forms, each with their own distinctive jargon. This often leads to confusion regarding what is required by federal law, what is required by the state, and what is only local policy. But that is the way that it is. Parents who know this, and who take the time to learn the federal and state IEP requirements, will do a much better job of advocating for their child.

In any event, for this reason, this sample IEP only includes the information necessary for understanding the meat of the IEP -- that is, the goals and objectives.


Student: Lincoln, David J. Birthdate: 2-11-78
Sex: M Grade Level: 5
Primary Disability: Vision

Program Recommendations: All regular classes. Will see itinerant teacher of the blind/visually impaired three hours per week. Regular physical education with adaptations as necessary (the itinerant teacher will provide adaptive P.E. consultation). Teacher's aide, one hour per day (the aide will provide reader services to student; prepare large print, recorded, and Braille materials as needed; and provide other assistance as assigned by the teacher of the blind/visually impaired).

Expected Duration of Program: 3 years.

Current Level of Functioning: Motor ability is generally average; does have some difficulty with ball games. Social behavior is age-appropriate. Speech and hearing, normal. No health problems other than visual impairment. Intellectual functioning is above average; academic achievement is high -- he qualifies for the gifted/talented program.

Medical: No usable vision in left eye; right eye is 20/100. Diagnosis is: central cataract, congenital glaucoma, microphthalmus, and nystagmus. Because of monocular vision, David has no depth perception.

Teacher and parents report that David experiences extreme visual fatigue after reading for twenty minutes. They also report that he has difficulty with faint print and cursive writing of any kind. David now uses regular print and large print. He knows most Grade II Braille symbols, but reads Braille very slowly. He has some familiarity with typing keyboard. His cursive handwriting has poor legibility. David also has difficulty crossing streets and detecting steps.


1. David will use Grade II Braille as one reading medium.
2. David will use the Braille slate and stylus effectively.
3. David will utilize materials read orally.
4. David will develop ability to select appropriate reading media and arrangements.
5. David will typewrite fifth/sixth grade level material on regular typewriter.
6. David will develop practical and readable handwriting.
7. David will develop cane-travel skills.


Goal 1: Use Grade II Braille as one reading medium.

1. Read all 190 signs of Grade II Braille with 80% accuracy. (Materials: selections from Modern Methods of Teaching Braille, Beginning Braille for A dults.)
2. Read short sentences using standard Grade II Braille.
3. When reading several lines of Braille, use left hand to locate and begin new line.
4. Read easy material (third-grade level or below) at 50 words per minute with 80% accuracy. (Materials: recreational reading books and Braille instruction books--see above.)
5. Read easy material at 100 words per minute with 80% accuracy.
6. Read easy material at 200 words per minute with 80% accuracy.
7. Read 5th/6th grade material at 30 words per minute with 80% accuracy. (Materials: regular class materials, Brailled.)
8. Read 5th/6th grade material at 70 words per minute with 80% accuracy.
9. Use Braille daily for at least one assignment in the regular class (or part of a long assignment, if at least 30 words are read in Braille).
10. Use Braille daily for at least one assignment in the regular class, each assignment being at least one Braille page in length.

Goal 2: Use Braille slate and stylus effectively.

1. Write Braille alphabet with 100% accuracy. (Methods/material: slate and stylus; oral dictation.)
2. Write 100 Braille signs with 80% accuracy.
3. Write short sentences with 80% accuracy.
4. Take short class notes in at least one subject, daily, to satisfaction of teacher.
5. Write spelling words at least twice weekly, in both Grade I and Grade II Braille, with 90% accuracy.

Goal 3: Utilize materials read orally.

1. Complete at least three assignments per week by means of a "live" reader other than family member. (Methods/materials: regular class assignments; adult reader provided by school as aide.)
2. Direct a "live" reader in regard to speed, repetition, skipping around, etc., to satisfaction of observing teacher.
3. Utilize at least one textbook in recorded form. (Materials: taped textbooks.)
4. Take notes from recorded book to satisfaction of teacher.

Goal 4: Develop ability to select appropriate reading media and arrangements.

1. For each of the following media David will state two advantages and two disadvantages and give an example of when he might use the particular media: regular inkprint, large print, Braille, recordings, live reader.
2. When reading print David will select regular print or large print according to which is likely to be more effective under given circumstances. (Methods/ Materials: regular classroom assignments; teacher guidance.)
3. For four or more magnification devices David will state two advantages and two disadvantages and also give an example of when he might use it, or state why he would never use it. (Materials: regular class materials, various magnification devices.)
4. When reading print David will use magnification devices when appropriate to satisfaction of teacher.

Goal 5: Typewrite fifth/sixth-grade level material on regular keyboard (typewriter and computer keyboard).

Methods/materials for all objectives: regular typewriter; computer keyboard with speech access; MECC instruction materials; oral dictation.

1. Type 15 letters of the alphabet.
2. Type all letters of the alphabet.
3. Type all numerals.
4. Use shift key and shift lock.
5. Type common marks of punctuation.
6. Type short sentences with 80% accuracy.
7. Type one short assignment (or part of an assignment) for regular class daily, with 80% accuracy.
8. Make corrections without use of vision.
9. Type all regular language assignments with 80% accuracy.
10. Type a report at least one page in length.
11. Center headings.
12. Type an outline having at least three ranks of headings.
13. Type a short original composition.

Goal 6: Develop practical and readable handwriting.

1. Select practical pencils/pens for handwriting, with emphasis on David's reading his own handwriting easily and accurately.
2. Develop and use a size and style of handwriting (not necessarily cursive writing) which is effectively read by David himself, and which is also readable by others.

Goal 7: David will develop cane travel skills.

Methods/Materials for all objectives: David will use a long white cane and wear sleepshades.

1. Hold cane correctly and arc in step on level terrain.
2. Walk up and down steps with proper cane technique.
3. Cross street without stoplight, very little traffic present.
4. Cross uncomplicated intersection with stoplight.

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