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Sunday, April 28, 2024

AI and IEPs

These meetings can turn nasty, and many autism parents have “IEP horror stories.”  One parent told me that she tried to ease tensions by bringing cookies to the meeting.  The principal then shouted to his staff, “Nobody touch those cookies!”  Another parent writes of asking for a sensory diet, a personalized activity plan that helps the student stay focused (e.g., low noise levels for those with a sensitivity to sound).  “After just proclaiming she is extremely knowledgeable about Asperger’s Syndrome, from the mouth of a school psychologist after we suggested our son needed a sensory diet. `Our cafeteria does not have the ability to provide this.’” 
Maybe AI can help.

Rakap, S., Balikci, S. Enhancing IEP Goal Development for Preschoolers with Autism: A Preliminary Study on ChatGPT Integration. J Autism Dev Disord (2024).  Abstract:

The impact of well-crafted IEP goals on student outcomes is well-documented, but creating high-quality goals can be a challenging task for many special education teachers. This study aims to investigate potential effectiveness of using ChatGPT, an AI technology, in supporting development of high-quality, individualized IEP goals for preschool children with autism.

Thirty special education teachers working with preschool children with autism were randomly assigned to either the ChatGPT or control groups. Both groups received written guidelines on how to write SMART IEP goals, but only the ChatGPT group was given handout on how to use ChatGPT during IEP goal writing process. Quality of IEP goals written by the two groups was compared using a two-sample t-test, and categorization of goals by developmental domains was reported using frequency counts.

Results indicate that using ChatGPT significantly improved the quality of IEP goals developed by special education teachers compared to those who did not use the technology. Teachers in the ChatGPT group had a higher proportion of goals targeting communication, social skills, motor/sensory, and self-care skills, while teachers in the control group had a higher proportion of goals targeting preacademic skills and behaviors.

The potential of ChatGPT as an effective tool for supporting special education teachers in developing high-quality IEP goals suggests promising implications for improving outcomes for preschool children with autism. Its integration may offer valuable assistance in tailoring individualized goals to meet the diverse needs of students in special education settings.