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Writing vision statements with an eagle eye: What parents can do

Scientists consider birds in general, and raptors in particular, to have the finest vision in the animal kingdom. People know the saying “bird’s eye view” and “eagle eye.” Like an eagle with keen vision, parents need keen intellectual vision to see what they want for their child in the IEP.

In fact, the vision statement is the one area on the IEP that parents have total control. While parents have input with goals, objectives, etc., the vision statement is not a negotiation; it’s a reflection of what the parents see for their child - their hopes and dreams.

Specifically, a sharp vision statement reflects the overall goal for the child. It includes short-term (i.e., one year) and longer-term (e.g., up to 5 years) goals. Importantly, the vision statement drives team decisions about services and placement.

Here are some questions to think about from Wrightslaw:

• What are your future plans and long-term goals for your child?
• What do you want your child to be able to do when he/she leaves the public school system?
• What thoughts do other IEP Team members have regarding your child? You might be surprised what they come up with.
• What steps do you need to take to help your child meet these goals?

Here are two examples of vision statements:
John hopes to be competitively employed in a retail or office setting after high school, doing a job such as cashiering or data entry. Although he plans to live with his family for a while after graduation, he anticipates eventually getting his own apartment, perhaps with a roommate. He is not interested, at this time, in pursuing any post-secondary education.

Mary plans to attend the community college to study child development. She will continue her job at the YMCA daycare center. She wants to live in an apartment with support and is on a waiting list to do so.

By law, the IEP development is a student driven process. The team applies the vision in order to create a program that brings the student closer to that vision, in a meaningful way, to reach the child’s personal goals. It takes a keen intellectual vision on the part of the parents to see it through.

f you have a question or a topic for Dr. Barrett to research and report on, please email Dr. Barrett

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