IEP Goals for Children with Autism

IEP Goals for Children with Autism

The IEP is an important tool for educating children with autism.  IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan, and the “individualized” is a key term.  One goal that is ideal for one child is not the best for another child.  However, you can follow some of these examples and modify them based on your child’s or student’s needs.  These IEP goals and objectives are ideal for children with autism, but they can be modified for other diagnoses as well.

The basic format for IEP goals is: ____ will perform a specific skill, a certain number of times, under specified conditions, at a specified level of achievement, and for a specific length of time.

Social Skills

Social skills refer to how children with autism interact with their peers, how they engage in play or turn-taking skills, how they talk with others, and how they understand and display emotions.  Example goals include:

  • ____ will work collaboratively in small group settings (share materials, listen to and comment on peer suggestions) 4 out of 5 times.
  • ____ will take turns 4 out of 5 opportunities to do so by paying attention to a peer’s turn and waiting for his own turn.
  • ____ will raise his hand and wait to be called on before speaking aloud in group settings 4 out of 5 times.
  • ____ will not interrupt others and show appropriate social manners 4 out of 5 times.
  • ____ will identify emotional states 4 out of 5 times and will state why a person might feel a particular emotions 4 out of 5 opportunities to do so.
  • ____ will identify appropriate reactions to emotions 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  • ____ will demonstrate appropriate voice tone and volume 90 percent of opportunities to do so.


Communication is often an area in which children with autism will struggle, and initiating a conversation as well as maintaining one for an extended period might be areas in which to improve.

  • ____ will initiate conversation with peers 4 out of 5 opportunities to do so.
  • ____ will take turns in conversation with peers, for conversations initiated by student or by peers, 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  • ____ will maintain conversations by staying on topic or making appropriate transitions for up to 5 exchanges 4 out of 5 opportunities to do so.
  • ____ will identify non-verbal forms of communication (voice tone, personal space, body orientation, or facial expressions) and explain their implied meanings 4 out of 5 times.

School Environment

Children with autism often will have difficulty operating within the structure of a school environment, or they might become frustrated or agitated when structures and routines are changed.

  • ____ will participate in tasks to completion with or without verbal prompts 80% of the time.
  • ____ will accept changes to the routine by exhibiting appropriate behaviors with given visual or verbal cues 80% of the time.
  • ____ will independently ask to take a break 70% of the time.

These are just a few examples, and the IEP might include sections for academic skills, language skills, life skills, or other necessary goals.  The goals will need to be tailored to the student’s needs, and each goal needs to be measurable.  Once children with autism meet goals, the difficulty of the goal should increase.  The IEP goals should be challenging but reachable, and parents and educators need to collaborate and identify what is best for the student and what goals can reasonably be met.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (25 votes)
Written by: Candice Evans See other articles by Candice Evans
About the Author:
Find more articles on:
We recommend:
The Social Skills Picture Book for High School and Beyond Unfolding the Tent
The Social Skills Picture Book for High School and Beyond Ready, Set, Potty! Unfolding the Tent
USD 39.95 USD 17.95 USD 18.95