Short-Term and Long-Term Goals in Language Disorders for Children

Written by susan corey
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Short-Term and Long-Term Goals in Language Disorders for Children
An IEP is a written educational therapy plan for children. (paper-clip and blue short letter image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

When creating goals for an individualised education plan (IEP), a speech language pathologist (SLP), will consider long-term goals and short-term goals. The long-term goals will be the result of the language disorder therapy over a period of time. One year is usually the span of an IEP. The short-term goals state what your child will specifically do over time, such as master the long-term goals. These short-term goals are measurable.

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Short-Term Goals

An expressive language disorder is the inability to express language appropriately. A child with this type of disorder is unable to use correct word order. For instance a child may say "swim water" for "I want to go swimming." Also, the child will misuse or not use the rules of proper grammar. A short-term goal may be stated as "Christy will build her vocabulary by identifying picture vocabulary in categories such as animals, school items and clothing in order to increase her expressive language three to four months developmentally, as measured by an age appropriate assessment." Building Christy's vocabulary and learning correct grammar are the short-term objectives or goals, to reach the long-term goals of correcting the expressive language disorder.

An expressive language disorder is misuse of word order or grammer.
An expressive language disorder is misuse of word order or grammer. (sweet young girl wich long hair image by Igor Shootov from

Long-Term Goals

It is vital for the SLP to create long-term goals that will result in achievement of the language disorder skills within a year. These goals are not designed in terms of what would be expected in language production at your child's age. Long-term goals are written according to your child's language disorder. If your child has a receptive or expressive language disorder this means that he has the inability to process language correctly during communication with others. The teacher may say "please sit down at your desk," but your child may interpret what she heard as sit down. She may not process "at your desk." She may just sit down on the floor. An example of a long-term goal for a receptive disorder is "Christy will understand and process others' speech, at an age-appropriate level as compared to her peers within this school year."

Short-Term and Long-Term Goals in Language Disorders for Children
The inability to process language correctly is called a receptive language disorder. (children on meadow image by Marzanna Syncerz from

Short- and Long-Term Goal Intervention

The short-term goals keep the long-term goals ongoing until they are met or represents some of the methods used in therapy for achieving the long-term goals. These goals do not include every aspect of your child's disorder. The goals are written in terms of your child's needs at that specific time of treatment. These goals allow measurement of what your child needs to accomplish. As a parent, you play a role in goal designing. The goals should make sense to you in terms of your child's needs. Practice the objectives written in your child's IEP outside of the therapy room. Practicing the same methods will reinforce what your child is learning. This will help your child carry over newly learnt language skills and continue to correct areas of the language disorder being focused upon.

Short-Term and Long-Term Goals in Language Disorders for Children
Model language therapy goals outside of treatment. (mother and child image by citylights from

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