IEP Nutrition Related Goals and Objectives

The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is the management tool for students receiving special education and related services. The IEP is designed to ensure that each student with a disability is provided special education and related services appropriate to his/her learning needs. It sets forth in writing a commitment of resources which are necessary to enable these students to benefit from special education and related services. Further, it is a communication tool to ensure that all service providers have knowledge of the student’s academic problems and the services to be provided. In addition, the IEP establishes a system by which families of students with special needs work as part of an interdisciplinary team to develop related services.

The IEP includes annual goals, short-term objectives and a schedule for evaluation. It is to be reviewed periodically and its provisions revised, when appropriate. A meeting shall include a representative of the local school division, other than the child’s teacher, who is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education, the child’s teacher, one or both of the child’s parents, the child when appropriate, and other individuals at the discretion of the parents or the local school division. For example, a nutritionist may be involved when a nutrition problem is identified for a child with special needs.

The IEP provides an ideal tool for integrating nutrition education into the school curriculum.

It is important to note that every student with a chronic illness may not be labeled disabled and, therefore, would not have an IEP. Special consideration is needed to ensure that resources and services will be provided for chronically ill children with special nutritional needs or feeding problems. For example, a student with diabetes will require special dietary considerations during the school day. Nutrition services should be available to this student through a 504 accommodation plan. Feeding or nutrition modifications would be considered "necessary accommodations" for a chronically ill child.

Incorporating nutrition goals and objectives into the education program will facilitate the delivery of services to improve the nutritional status of children with special needs. These goals and objectives will facilitate instruction on dietary needs and compliance.

An outline of IEP goals and special considerations for writing objectives for children with nutrition or feeding problems is provided. This is followed by case studies which describe children with special nutritional problems. Examples of IEP nutrition goals and objectives which may be incorporated into their education plan are included.

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