How to Write SLP AAC Goals
If you’re a new school-based speech-language pathologist, you may feel intimidated about writing SLP AAC goals. But with a bit of practice and some helpful resources, you’ll be a pro in no time! There are a few things to remember about developing goals and objectives for Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and more specifically, speech-language pathology augmentative and alternative communication (SLP AAC) goals:
- Aim to write the best possible goals for your students. Researchers have hypothesized that “poorly written IEP goals are negatively related to growth and progress in the curriculum” (ASHA).
- Strive to write SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Limited. Using the SMART acronym can help you write effective goals. See our resource on writing SMART goals for more.
- If you already have a template you’ve found effective for writing IEP goals, you can use this for SLP AAC goals. Understandably, school SLPs may overcomplicate SLP AAC goal-writing because these goals involve both speech-language pathology AND augmentative and alternative communication goals. But keep it simple, and you’ll be just fine!
AAC SLP Goal-writing Resources
One of the best ways to grow as an SLP is to learn from others. SLPs across the field are wonderful about helping one another out and sharing free resources. There’s an active community out there to help you if you’re stumped and need some examples to get started. Bookmark these resources shared by the school SLP community, and use their templates and samples as a jumping-off point to craft your own for your students.
AAC SLP Goal-writing Template and Sample Goals
At SpeechyMusings.com, Shannon Werbeckes, Pediatric SLP, offers resources for writing AAC goals, a goal-writing template and a goal bank. The goal-writing template is perfect for bookmarking and returning to when needed – or saving as a word doc and editing for each specific goal. Here’s a template adapted from the site, followed by two sample goals:
- Given [name of support, e.g., access to their robust communication system, familiar communication partner, consistent modeling, sensory supports, indirect verbal prompts], [student’s name] will communicate for [number of communicative functions] [name communication functions, e.g., including greeting others, making comments, requesting, refusing, sharing information, labeling, asking/answering questions] within [time period, e.g., 20-minute activity, school day, class period].
- “Given modeling on his AAC device and an expectant pause, NAME will combine 2 or more symbols on his AAC device to express 3 or more different communicative functions (greet others, make comments, request, refuse, share information, label, or ask/answer questions) during a 15 minute classroom observation in 3 out of 5 consecutive observations.”
- “Given 1 indirect verbal cue, NAME will combine 2 or more symbols to make requests in 70% of opportunities during routine or semi-structured activities.”
More AAC SLP Goals
At TheSpeechRoomNews.com, Jenna Rayburn Kirk, SLP, has a free IEP goal bank with sample AAC-specific speech therapy goals. Here are just a few:
- “By the end of the IEP, in preschool classroom activities (circle, snack, etc.), given one verbal prompt, X will use core vocabulary words meaningfully on his speech generating device at least twice per activity, with 75% accuracy measured through observation, 3 data collection opportunities per grading period.”
- “By the end of the IEP, during structured language activities, X will use his speech generating device for 3 different functions per activity (request repetition, comment, label, request an item, refuse, request assistance, greet, ask a question, request clarification, etc.) with two verbal or gestural prompts, with 75% accuracy measured through observation, 3 data collection opportunities per grading period.”
- “By the end of the IEP, given a model, X will use functional communication to interact her environment (point, gesture, activate AAC, imitate sounds, etc.), with 80% accuracy 3/4 data collection opportunities per grading term, measured by observation.”
At SpeechTherapyStore.com, Melissa Berg, SLP, has compiled a free bank with over 430 measurable IEP goals and objectives! There is an entire section of 30 sample speech therapy goals for AAC, which is divided into Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), General, Conversation and Sign Language goals. Goals include:
- “Given a picture or object, STUDENT will identify the attributes (hot/cold, big/little, soft/hard) of the picture or object using augmentative symbols or device with 80% accuracy in 4 out of 5 opportunities.”
- “Given a spoken question, STUDENT will select the desired activity using augmentative symbols or device with 80% accuracy in 4 out of 5 opportunities.”
- “Given a communication partner, STUDENT will maintain a conversation and engage in up to 3 conversational exchanges with a peer or teacher using augmentative symbols or device with 80% accuracy in 4 out of 5 opportunities.”
- “Given a time of frustration, STUDENT will independently indicate a break or refuse an undesired item or activity (i.e., “no”, “I don’t want”, “I don’t like”, etc.) using augmentative symbols or device with 80% accuracy in 4 out of 5 opportunities.”
As a reminder, keep your goal-writing simple, effective and SMART, you’ll be well on your way to writing the best possible goals for your students.
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