Listing a student’s strengths is often the best part of the IEP for a parent and the most fun part for a teacher. When creating a list of student strengths for your next IEP, it is important to gather information from parents, teachers, and the student. Student strengths start IEPs in a positive way and show parents that the team knows the student well. Looking for more positive strengths for your students? Here is a list of student strengths to use on your next IEP.
Strengths in the area of social skills can be observed by every person on the IEP team. Using social strengths can be related to the student’s personality or how the interact with peers. When finding strengths in this area, observation and collaboration with the IEP team is necessary.
- Student is kind, sweet, caring, etc.
- Student is respectful and responsible.
- Student is a good friend.
- Student shares well with others.
- Student helps friends in need.
- Student makes others feel welcome in the classroom.
- Student is a leader.
- Student is organized (e.g., always has their materials ready to go, transitions between tasks independently).
- Student is able to problem solve well.
- Student enjoys… (I like to add feedback from the student about what they enjoy learning about and dong outside of school).
Strengths within the classroom are best seen by the classroom teacher. They are the expert in classroom strengths. Some classroom teachers may have difficulty coming up with strengths if they do not have the student in the room often. Here are some ideas of strengths that can be observed within the classroom:
- Student takes and applies feedback well.
- Student is actively engaged in classroom discussions.
- Student helps in the classroom.
- Student looks to peers to help follow directions when needed.
- Student follows classroom routines independently.
- Student follows classroom rules and expectations.
- Student uses the calm down corner when needed.
- Student asks for help independently (or with cues) and appropriately.
- Student shares thoughts and ideas with the class.
- Student starts work tasks (independently, with reminders, with visuals, etc.).
Finally, academic strengths are important to include, as they lead into the “meat and potatoes” of the IEP. I always include improvements from the last year, academic areas of interest, and feedback from any additional staff that works with the student.
- Interested in (math, reading, writing).
- Enjoys learning about (animals, math, science).
- Student benefits from visual supports.
- Advocates for help when needed.
- Student has improved in the area(s) of (reading, speech, fine motor, etc.)
Organizing information for IEPs can be challenging, due to the amount of information that is required and the number of people involved in the process. Using this IEP Planner helps me keep input from the team organized. Below is an example how to use a planning page. This can be filled out while gathering information from parents, teachers, relative services providers, and the student. I keep all planning pages in my IEP Planning binder so it is readily available.
Developing a list of specific student strengths for each IEP is a vital part of the process. Using the IEP planner to keep yourself organized when collaborating with all IEP team members. Happy planning!
Use this FREE preference assessment to learn about student interests to include in the IEP! This helps for a more well rounded IEP should the student ever leave you or your district. This is a free download!