Individual Education Plan Tips for Special Interests

So, we have discussed Social Goals on the Individual Education Plan (IEP). Many children with Aspergers', or who are on the Autism Spectrum, often have special interests that are all-consuming.

How can we use the interests as part of the IEP? There are many ways to encourage the interest in positive ways, but it is important that the interest promotes positive social interactions, too.

For example, let's use the special interest as a way for the child to relax and have time that is not stressful. In this case, there should be time build into the child's schedule to go to this interest as both a calming activity or as a reward after completing a difficult task. The IEP should include the interest as a teaching strategy. There should be a time limit placed on this. (See video on Visual Timers.)

When possible, (and sometimes this does not fit in with state/provincial curricula), the child's interest can serve as his/her topic for writing in his journal, for presentations, for sharing with a small group. In this case, a goal should be interactive communication, where listening to the ideas of others, not interrupting, knowing when to stop talking at people, should be included as a goal. We need to appreciate the expertise of the student in the interest, but also realize that this expertise can be a turn-off to others if the child cannot leave it behind to engage in other activities, or show an interest in what others are doing, however briefly.

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