Yes. An important aspect of education for a student with disabilities is how to function appropriately in the community. IEP goals should address integration in the real world environments in which they will function as adults. These include recreation, community, and vocational environments. Skills that will facilitate your child’s acceptance (such as social or communication skills) should be incorporated into her educational goals. If this type of programming begins during the school years, successful integration as an adult is much easier to achieve.
You, together with your child’s teachers need to first investigate possible community activities in which your child can participate: for example, Boys/Girls Clubs, gyms, aerobics classes, parks, playgrounds, parks and recreation programs, libraries, movie theaters, restaurants, and shopping centers.
From these ideas, you can identify the skills your child needs to learn to participate in the community and build these skills into the IEP. For example:
- Suzanne will learn to independently shop for groceries from a picture list, select items from the shelves, give money and receive change as measured by teacher observation three times per week;
- Given a community work site, Stephen will clear and wipe tables and sweep floors up to competitive standards as measured by teacher and employer observation, for one hour two times per week;
- When at a restaurant, Joseph will order food and appropriately thank server 80% of the time as measured by teacher observation.
Peer tutors or buddies who attend your child’s school can also help promote integration in the community. They may be encouraged to:
- Visit your home;
- Invite your child to visit their home; or
- Participate with your child in community-based activities or organizations.