Now that you have assessments in all areas of suspected disability, and agree with what they conclude and recommend, it’s time to develop your child’s individual education plan!

• Review the assessments and highlight the areas of need

We suggest that you grab a highlighter pen and highlight your child’s areas of need in each assessment.

The areas of need define the goals. The more areas of need your child has, the more goals will be in the IEP. The more goals, the more supplementary aids and services and related services your child will receive.

Next, write one area of need on one index card, or use our goal tracking spreadsheet. Organize each area of need under the following categories: Vision, Hearing and Listening, Academics, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Orientation and Mobility, Speech & Language, Behavior and Attention, Social/Emotional, Self Care, and Other.

• Write a letter of parental concerns

Now that you understand your child’s areas of need, write a letter of parental concerns to the IEP team. This letter should lay out the areas of need you want addressed by this year’s IEP goals. The IEP must address all concerns in this letter, so don’t skip this step!


These sample letters of parental concerns will help you structure your letter to the school team before your child’s next IEP meeting.

• Ask for a copy of the draft IEP

Your child’s teacher has probably prepared a draft IEP. Ask the team for a copy of your child’s draft IEP at least one week prior to the meeting.

• Attend the IEP meeting

Now it’s time for the IEP meeting!  You and the team will review all the assessments and, pulling from the child’s strengths and areas of need, will write a clear and concise statement of present levels of academic achievement functional performance. This statement is the foundation of the IEP. All goals, services, accommodations, and the final placements flow from the present levels statement. It gives The present  the reader a clear snapshot of what the child can (strengths) and can’t (weaknesses) do.

The present levels statement must describe:

  • The results of the most recent evaluations;
  • Academic achievement – the child’s performance in reading/language arts, math, science, and history);
  • Functional performance – dressing, eating, going to the bathroom; social skills such as making friends and communicating with others; behavior skills, such as knowing how to behave across a range of settings; and mobility skills, such as walking, getting around, going up and down stairs.
  • The strengths of the child;
  • How the child’s disability affects the child’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum. (For preschool, this is how the disability affects the child’s participation in appropriate preschool activities such as identifying letters, colors, using scissors, following instructions, and playing games).

The present levels statement should not:

  • Remain the same year after year;
  • List test scores that are not self-explanatory;
  • Use highly technical language (e.g. “at risk,” “confidence interval,” “atypicality,” “t-score,” “clinically significant,” “t-score”))
  • Use imprecise language (“borderline,” “low average,” “above average”)
  • Use terms and references that cannot be understood without reference to test manuals
  • Uses vague terms (“student has a great sense of humor,” “likes to help teacher,” “enjoys his peers”).

And remember – all the concerns in your parental concerns letter should be included at the end of the PLAAFP statement.

• Draft The Goals

Once the PLAAFP statement has been written, it’s time for the team to write goals. Remember, the goals address areas of need – these areas of need are identified in your child’s assessments.


Starting at minute 10:10, this webinar discusses developing your child’s IEP. If you have not watched our full IEP series, watch it here.


This comprehensive spreadsheet is designed for parents, caregivers, and educators navigating school and learning after epilepsy surgery. Written for IEP teams, each tab of the spreadsheet covers a wide range of assessments, explains specially designed instruction, supplementary aids and services, related services, program modifications, and supports.


Our goal bank is a public spreadsheet you can review.

The web has hundreds of goal banks you can review. Here are some of our favorites:

Once the goals are written by the team, then the special education, supplementary aids and services, and related services the child needs to help him/her meet the goal are discussed and added to the IEP.


Try our easy-to-use goal tracking spreadsheet. List all areas of need, goals, and services in place that help your child meet the goals. Don’t forget progress reports!

Download spreadsheet (XLS)

Access spreadsheet (Google Sheets) – RECOMMENDED