A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Task Initiation Goals in IEPs


Task initiation is a critical executive function skill that enables students to begin tasks promptly and efficiently. This guide is designed to assist educators in crafting effective Task Initiation IEP goals, helping students with special needs overcome procrastination and improve their ability to start tasks independently.

Understanding Task Initiation

Task initiation involves the ability to begin a task without undue procrastination, in a timely manner. For students with special needs, difficulties with task initiation can hinder academic performance and increase anxiety, making it a key area of focus in educational planning.

The Significance of Task Initiation Goals in IEPs

Incorporating task initiation goals into a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is essential for promoting independence and productivity. These goals help students develop the necessary skills to initiate tasks, enhancing their overall academic and life skills proficiency.

Creating SMART Task Initiation IEP Goals

  • Specific: Define what the student is expected to achieve, specifying the tasks and settings.
  • Measurable: Include criteria that clearly track the student’s progress in initiating tasks.
  • Achievable: Set realistic goals considering the student’s current capabilities.
  • Relevant: Link the goals to academic and personal development needs.
  • Time-bound: Establish a timeframe for the student to accomplish these goals.

Task Initiation IEP Goals and Compliance

Effective task initiation IEP goals should be compliant with legal standards and tailored to the student’s Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP). This ensures that the goals are suited to meet the identified needs within the context of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

  • Alignment with legal and educational requirements: Goals must cater to the student’s unique educational needs as stipulated under IDEA.
  • Measurable and specific: Goals should have clear, quantifiable criteria for assessment.
  • Regular reviews and adjustments: It’s crucial to reassess goals periodically to ensure they remain relevant and challenging.

Task Initiation IEP Goals Samples

Disclaimer: These sample goals are provided as a template. It’s important to customize each goal to the specific circumstances and needs of the student to ensure they are meaningful and achievable.

  • Immediate Start: By (date), the student will begin their assigned task within 5 minutes of instruction, improving from their baseline of needing reminders 80% of the time to requiring reminders only 20% of the time.
  • Homework Initiation: By (date), the student will independently start their homework within 30 minutes of arriving home, as evidenced by a weekly tracking sheet showing improvement from 1 out of 5 days to 4 out of 5 days.
  • Classwork Initiation: By (date), upon entering the classroom, the student will start their starter activity without teacher prompting in 8 out of 10 instances, up from 3 out of 10.
Elevate Your Team’s Approach to IEP Meetings

Our Transition Planning Rubric is designed to support district leaders and educators in guiding their teams towards excellence in transition planning.

It provides comprehensive criteria that cover the breadth of transition planning, from gauging student engagement to evaluating post-secondary goals and services.

Why Use This Rubric?

  • Tailored Feedback: Utilize a structured scoring system to evaluate and enhance individual transition plans.
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Additional Examples of Task Initiation IEP Goals:

  • Project Commencement: By (date), the student will independently begin multi-step projects by creating a task list and starting the first task within one school day of assignment, shown by documented teacher observations improving from 1 out of 5 projects to 4 out of 5 projects.
  • Morning Routine Initiation: By (date), the student will start their morning routine at school (e.g., unpacking, turning in homework, sitting at their desk) within 10 minutes of arrival with 90% consistency, up from 50% consistency, as tracked by daily teacher logs.
  • Digital Learning Initiation: By (date), the student will log into their required learning platforms and begin their assignments within 15 minutes of scheduled start time, with progress from needing reminders 70% of the time to only 30% of the time, as recorded by the learning management system logs.

Strategies for Teaching Task Initiation Skills

  • Visual Aids: Use visual schedules and checklists to remind students of tasks they need to start.
  • Routine Building: Help students establish consistent routines that facilitate automatic task initiation.
  • Motivational Reinforcements: Implement positive reinforcements for timely task initiation to encourage consistent behavior.

More on Task Initiation IEP Goals

Task initiation is more than just starting tasks; it involves overcoming the inertia that many students with executive functioning difficulties face. By including task initiation goals in an IEP, educators can provide students with the tools they need to succeed academically and in everyday activities.

By adopting Ori Learning’s innovative strategies and resources, schools can ensure these IEP goals are not only met but exceeded, thereby fostering greater independence and efficiency in their students’ educational journeys. Discover how our curriculum supports robust IEP goal attainment by scheduling a consultation with our experts today.

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Jon Izak

Jon Izak is the founder and CEO of Ori Learning.

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Jon Izak
Jon Izak is the founder and CEO of Ori Learning.