• How does the SLP know whether a student has met a particular goal on their IEP? This is accomplished by ensuring a measurable yearly goal for the student, with specific objectives outlined to help the student reach that goal. During speech-language sessions, one of three things is happening: either I'm teaching a skill, I'm taking data on the use of a skill, or we are practicing a skill. Once a student has been exposed to and had a chance to practice using a skill, I want to see whether s/he has mastered it. For example, if a student is learning how to make inferences, I will give him/her several opportunities to make an inference on an appropriately leveled passage. If s/he can correctly make the targeted inference on 3 out of 5 of the passages provided, then we keep working on the skill. When the student can make an inference on 5 out of the 5 passages provided, and this is consistent, then I know the student has learned how to make inferences. We will continue to practice, and I will provide the student with opportunities for over-learning. Eventually, the student can either begin learning another skill if needed (in which case we need to update the IEP goal/objectives), or s/he may even be discharged from speech-language services. 
    Receiving speech-language services as part of an IEP is a mandate for students presenting with a communication disability who are not making effective progress. The services must not be viewed as extra-help or tutoring. For students with a disability, it is imperative to level the playing field, not provide unfair advantages. Sometimes a student has a significant need(s) and remains on an IEP throughout high school, and that is ok. We are all different, and we learn differently. Given that understanding, the goal of any IEP is to help enable a student to be an independent learner who doesn't need the IEP. When a student has demonstrated a skill set and is not recommended for continued speech-language services, it is a time to celebrate his/her achievement.