Goal Objectives Ladder or Pie ?


I am presently participating in American Speech Language and Hearing’s online conference Improving Intelligibility in Children .  Similar to going to a conference I sometimes feel that I wish my brain had a lid and I could just open it up and download all the wonderful information being presented. After 37 years of being a speech therapist,  I still find that every day there is something more I need to learn. Sometimes it is the content that is being presented and sometimes it is a simple aside that the presenter mentions in their presentation. In a presentation, today  by Debra Preisser Improving Intelligibility Applications and Adaptations for the Schools, while discussing IEPs talked about writing objectives using the ‘pie’ approach or the ‘ladder’ approach. It struck me that this would be an important concept for my graduate students.

When you are writing you goal objectives you should be thinking which approach is most appropriate for the goal and treatment plan.


The ladder approach: the present level of functioning or baseline information is the bottom rung of the ladder and the goal is at the top. The objectives are therefore the step by step process to get to the goal.

However, not all goals should be written using the ladder approach as it should primarily be used for those that there is a step by step process. The objectives build on one another.

It could be considered as first, then, last.


The pie approach: The order of completing each piece or subpart of the learning tasks is unimportant. Progress in subtasks may be assessed separately. Tasks may be presented simultaneously. Each objective is a separate task that is part of a larger goal.

So when we are writing our IEPs we need to carefully consider if our targets need to follow the ladder objective approach or if a pie objective approach would be more productive.

What are some of the goals that would require a ladder approach?

What are some of the goals that it would be better to do a pie approach to writing goals?


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