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Using your PLOPs to Develop Effective Student Accommodations & Goals

Welcome to the second post in our three-part series on effective school-based occupational therapy. In our previous post, we discussed the importance of writing effective Present Levels of Performance (PLOPs) for each student we work with, and how they can be used to guide the development of individualized education programs (IEPs).

In this post, we will focus on using PLOPs to develop effective accommodations and therapy goals for our students. Accommodations are changes to the learning environment or materials that help students access the curriculum and demonstrate their knowledge, while therapy goals are specific objectives that the student will work on with the occupational therapist to improve their skills and abilities.

We'll provide practical tips and examples for developing accommodations and therapy goals that are individualized, measurable, and relevant to each student's needs. By the end of this post, you'll have a clear understanding of how to use PLOPs to guide the development of effective accommodations and therapy goals, which will help you to help your students succeed in the classroom and beyond.

So let's dive in!

Part Two: Accommodations & Goals

I like to say the student's strengths lead to accommodations, while the areas of concern can lead to goals.

For example, we have a few potential options if a student struggles with producing legible writing but excels in verbal communication.

From a goal standpoint, we could recommend something along the lines of the student producing more legible written language. Or we could introduce typing and write a goal for that.

Alternatively (or in tandem with a goal from above), we could recommend that the team allow the student to record his responses verbally or use a speech-to-text system to complete academic tasks.

My preference is to implement a combination of these options. There is no reason to prevent this student from accessing his curriculum in the short term because it will take time to meet the legibility goal. To prevent that situation, we can put accommodations in place so the student can continue progressing academically while we work on the area of concern.

When making such recommendations, it is important to consider the student's environment and how it may impact their ability to access the curriculum. For example, if the student is going to respond to questions verbally, the team must factor in what this may look like during a test when the expectation is to remain quiet.

Will the student be assessed separately, or is there another way the student's learning could be assessed while eliminating the task demand of writing? You might have to get creative.

Want to learn more about developing proven present levels, goals, and services?

Sign up for the A-Z School-Based OT Course to help you better understand school-based OT and to create systems to ensure you are giving each student your absolute best.


Remember that the IEP is a team effort. Collaborate with other members of the team, such as the student's teacher, to ensure that your recommendations are appropriate and feasible within the classroom setting. Working with the IEP team can lead to more effective and comprehensive recommendations.

When setting therapy goals, use data from the PLOPs and other assessments to ensure that the goals are specific, measurable, and achievable. By using data to inform goals, you can make sure that the goals are appropriately challenging and that progress can be accurately measured. You can learn more about smart goals in this blog post or this episode of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.

By following these tips, you can effectively use the PLOPs to inform recommendations for accommodations and therapy goals that will help the student succeed in the classroom. Remember to approach this process from a strengths-based perspective and collaborate with the IEP team to ensure the student receives the support they need to succeed.

See you next time,

👋 Jayson

PS - Did you miss the first article in this series? Click here to learn more about writing your PLOPs.

Learn more about developing strong present levels, goals, and services.

Sign up for the A-Z School-Based OT Course to help you better understand school-based OT and to create systems to ensure you are giving each student your absolute best.



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