Using Smart Goals & IEP = To IMprove Outcomes

Use SMART Goals and IEP to improve outcomes Today!

Using SMART Goals and IEP to improve outcomes is an important skill for all educators working with children with autism spectrum disorder.

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Discussed in this Episode:

How to apply from Early Years to Post School Options

✅  IEPs. (Individualised Education Plan) 

✅ SMART Goals

✅  Planning

Read along if you have my new MEGA Book pages 88-91 and harness SMART Goals and IEP to improve outcomes!

Step 1: Update  on Progress

This should include:

  • Academic strategies and progress
  • Communication strategies and progress
  • Physical health and needs
  • Independence skills, including building capacity to study and self-care independently
  • Social skills and peer connections
  • General emotional well being
  • Self-regulation and behaviour skills
  • Time and frequency of support staff or services

Step 2 : SMART Goals

The most important part of any IEP is arguably the list of goals the student it aiming to achieve. This can be the hardest part for parents and teachers to craft effectively. As a general guide, IEP goals should be SMART goals.


Make the goals small and achievable ie. sit for 2 minutes at mat time, then build up to 5, 10, 15 over the year.



Progress towards the goal must be objectively measurable. Avoid phrases like “improved attitude” “often distracted” as these words can be misleading and confusing and can’t be measured for progress. Use measurable terms that use time and specific behaviour “off task for 15minutes, two or three times a day”



Take into account the students ASD, learning style and disability



Teachers often have 30 students in a class. What is realistic? Let’s do the maths. 30 students in one hour that is 2 minutes/student, then take away time for group instruction. If you are lucky you have one minute for the student. What will that minute look like? Another example: Many students with ASD find homework really difficult and families find it really stressful to complete! Is this important? What is your goal?



The goal will be achieved by time/date (What can you do this term).

Step 3 : Resources & Strategies

What strategies and resources do we need to implement our SMART goals and best support this student?

  • Apply for additional hours of support services (if applicable)
  • Any further reports/assessments required
  • Curriculum Modifications – Adjustments, Supports etc

What are the skills & resources that we need?

  • Obtain a range of books to Support Staff or Families/Carers
  • Sensory Tools or Resources
  • Professional Development for Staff or Families/Carers. See online courses or face to face workshops near you. 

PLanning & Approaches to TEaching


This applies to all ages and stages:


1. What is the Goal?

2. Where are they now?

3. Knowledge and Skills to be Taught?

4 .What Supports are Needed?


Approaches to Teaching

  • Location
  • Step by Step
  • Make Tasks Easier


Excerpt A Manual to Provide Support & Care (pg 44 – 48)

Listen to this Podcast To Find Out Why I Use Bubble Writing:

Listen to My Podcast to find out why I recommend “bubble writing” 

Not “Dots” to teach writing. 

Exert Page 59 Visual Learning by Jodi Lee

Products Mentioned in Podcast: Using SMART Goals & IEP to Improve Outcomes

Product Quantity

Sue Larkey's MEGA BOOK of Timesavers, Tips & Strategies for Busy and Complex Classrooms

A MEGA book full of my most Popular Blogs, Tip Sheets and more in one easy to use reference! This book is for all ages and stages, for teaching neurodiverse students including Autism Spectrum, ADHD, ODD, PDA and more!

Includes index to quickly look up Topic & Tips, as well as ideas for all parts of teaching and looking after neurodiverse children. 142 pages of Strategies & Tips at YOUR Fingertips.

The Early Years: The Foundations For All Learning

| by Sue Larkey & Gay von Ess | This book is full of practical ideas to give children with an ASD and other developmental delays the KEYS to learning. Teaching to play, write, draw, imitate etc. Toilet training, community access, etc. To sit, ask for help, wait, play, attention to task, sign songs, etc. Great easy to photocopy programmes.

The Essential Guide to Secondary School

| by Sue Larkey & Anna Tullemans | Revised and expanded in 2016. A practical guide to secondary school. Ideas for
all staff, from curriculum engagement, accommodations, group work, homework, using technology, behaviour support, organisational skills to building independence. Includes proformas to photocopy and save you time. This book has over 100 pages of proven ideas and strategies. MASSIVE TIME SAVER for busy Teachers & Parents

time saver clock

A Manual To Provide Support and Care for Adults with Autism Spectrum

This is a guide to help support workers to individualise support for each participant in order to help them gain independence, self-reliance and community inclusion.

What's in it for me?

  • Over 80 pages
  • Over 500 Tips & Strategies to provide guidance for adaptations, modifications and understanding to meet the goals of participants
  • Build your expertise to encourage participants to make decisions, find their strengths and use them as building blocks to develop skills

Teacher Assistants Big Red Book of Ideas

| by Sue Larkey & Anna Tullemans | Hundreds of ideas you can try. Setting up the classroom, the role of the teacher assistant, behaviour in the classroom and playground, stages of anxiety, transition, sensory toys and activities. Includes frequently asked questions and MORE!

Teacher Assistants Big Blue Book of Ideas

| by Sue Larkey & Anna Tullemans | Companion to the Teacher Assistants Big Red Book of Ideas. Hundreds of new strategies to try. Social skills: playgrounds, friendships, building self esteem, bullying. In the classroom: getting on task, adapting tasks and exams, building independence. Managing anxiety and behaviour.

Kids in the Syndrome Mix

| by Martin L. Kutscher MD | Kids in the Syndrome Mix is a concise, scientifically up-to-date, all-in-one guide to the whole range of often co-existing neuro-behavioural disorders in children from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder, to autistic spectrum disorders, nonverbal learning disabilities, sensory integration problems, and executive dysfunction.

The Motor Skill Flip-Book Program

| by Sally McNamara  -  An easy-to-use resource for therapists, teachers, aides and parents. Developed by a paediatric occupational therapist in response to demand for quick and easy motor skill programs for children. Five colour-coded areas of motor development incorporating the whole body; including core strength, shoulder stability, gross motor coordination, fine motor coordination, and pencil control skills. 100 mix and match activities of varying degrees of difficulty that can be tailored to each child, or group of children, quickly and easily. Beneficial for children who experience handwriting difficulties as well as general coordination and motor development issues. Star system allows for evaluation of skill level and the ability to track progress and set goals.

Pencil Grips - 3 Types

Pencil Grips: standard, cross-over or pinch grip | For left and right handers.

Speed, legibility and endurance of handwriting are influenced by the way a child holds their pencil. Pencil grips help the child maintain a position of stability to allow for efficient mobility and improved handwriting. The BIG advantage of our pencil grips is children like the feel of them as they are large, soft and moulded to fit your fingers – unlike the hard triangle types and the smaller types. The ergonomic design also provides relief of hand fatigue and pain. #1 Grip recommended by therapists to help kids write.

  • The Standard Grip is the original ergonomic writing aid and it continues to set the standard. It is simplistic in design but highly effective.
  • The Crossover Grip uses the same great design as the Standard Grip but with added wings to prevent fingers from crossing over each other.
  • The Pinch Grip balances the structure of the Crossover Grip with the freedom of the Standard Grip. Gently encourages fingers and hand to rest in the proper position. It's a transitional that bridges the gap between the Crossover and Standard Grips.

The Grips can be used as a three step process starting with Crossover, then Pinch Grip and finally Standard.

My other Podcasts mentioned this week :

Episode 105: Occupational Therapist shares 3 Key Strategies to Improve Motor Skills in ALL Kids

In this podcast Paediatric Occupational Therapist Sally McNamara (Lewis) shares her 3 key strategies to improve motor skills in ALL children.

🔑 Ever wondered why children fidget?
🔑 Ever thought about how playgrounds can be designed to maximise learning motor skills?
🔑 Ever considered integrating learning motor skills into every day tasks?

All these questioned and more answered in this podcast!

Episode 140: 10 Tools Every School & Home Needs in 2022

There are so many resources now available to help teach and care for children on the autism spectrum and it can be difficult to know which ones will be the most helpful – and this is a question I am most often asked. So here is my TOP 10 RECOMMENDED TOOLS for you at school or at home!

For those of you looking for support in understanding autism spectrum and the children you work with, as well as strategies for behaviour support, these resources are perfect. And if you are looking to build your professional library, these books will be perfect for you.