Strengths and Needs

In this chapter, you will learn about identifying student strengths and needs as part of the IEP process. Direct quotes from the law will be presented, along with Anna's perception, and a video example of Anna discussing her daughter's strengths and needs with the team.

Things to Consider:

  1. Why is it important to consider a student's strengths and needs when meeting as an IEP team?
  2. How can parents contribute to a team discussion about their child's strengths and needs?
  3. What are some strategies for demonstrating a student's strengths and needs with the IEP team?

Strengths and Needs - What the law says

When developing each child's IEP, the team must consider the following:

1) The strengths of the child;
2) The concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child;
3) The results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the child; and
4) The academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child.
[IDEA 34 CFR §300.324 (a)(1)(i-iv)]


Complete a one-page information list that describes your own strengths and needs. After completing this paper, reflect on what it says and answer the following questions:

  1. What does this information tell you about yourself?
  2. How might the information affect your own life planning and goal setting?
  3. How could such information assist any of your family members, friends, co-workers, children, or students who work with you?
  4. What are some strategies you could use to assist the parents of your students with completing a “Strengths and Needs” page prior to participating in an IEP meeting?

Strengths and Needs- What Anna says

Even though I have worked with the same team for several years, I always provide a parent report at every annual or triennial IEP meeting. My daughter changes and I want the adults working with her to remember that and to use my information to adjust their teaching strategies to support her strengths. They may know she likes to sing but I can tell them that she is learning the songs from Annie and learning about orphans and adoption. When they do a social study unit on families, she has awareness of different kinds of families. I write a one page bulleted list with four categories: interests, strengths, needs and friends. I believe that every parent should present their report just like all the other professionals do and take time to do a thorough, meaningful assessment of their child through their own eyes.

Artifact: Anna's Strengths and Needs list

IEP meeting-Video Example

Please observe the following video example of Anna discussing Sabrina's strengths and need with her IEP team. As you watch the video consider how the information presented about Sabrina could influence your own teaching practices with Sabrina.

All About Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
Learn about the IEP Learn to identify students' strengths and needs through the IEP process Learn how important a home - school partnership is Learn how to write measurable goals for IEPs
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