Writing Goals and Objectives
Writing in CSD
Fourkinds of informationare part of the medical record: subjective, objective, assessment, and plan – or SOAP.Each type of information is important for understanding the patient/client
SOAP Note – a quick tour through the (historical) medical record
Subjective information is any that is reported to the clinician about the patient OR behavior the clinician observes that impacts the outcome of a sessionMay be reported by patient or family member, caregiverUsually, cannot be confirmed by clinician (is “hearsay”)Ex: “Alice had a cold all week and that really interfered with homework”Behavior that is observed needs exemplifyingEx: “Alice needed 6 reminders to sit in her chair.”
S = subjective
Objective information is the record of what was actually done during the therapy session, including what the client achieved.Data and activities ONLY – no interpretationEx: “The clinician supplied a picture book with no words. Alice created a story based on the picture. Alice generated 9 sentences using correct chronological transitions (first, then, next, so).”
O = Objective
In the assessment section, the clinician provides comment on client’s progress given the session. Performance goals are specified and new problems may be noted.Ex: “Alice demonstrated mastery in using transition words between chronological events. She used few descriptions in her narrative.”
A = Assessment
The plan section is where the clinician makes specific recommendations for what the client should do next.Use the future tenseUse performance, condition, criteriaEx: “Alice will supply one color adjective and one size adjective for 10 objects.”
P = Plan
The advent of technology has changed the classic SOAP note. Clinicians do not need to write the whole thing out. Instead, the Subjective, Objective, and Assessment sections are often entered through checkboxes and/or short phrases.The writing task falls mostly on writing long and short term goals.The clinician must understand that the other forms of information exist! They are just represented differently.
Technology changes everything.
In a clinical setting, goals (or objectives) refer to the outcomes desired for the client. They may be classified aslong termorshort term.
What are clinical goals?
Long-term goals involve results that will often take months or years to achieve. These might include long-term goals such as raising scores on a standardized achievement test, reading at a level commensurate with age and grade level, or successfully completing a multi-year therapy program.
Long Term Goals
John will improve scores on theFacial Expression Inventory.Ann will read at a level commensurate with her age and grade.
Examples of Long Term Goals:
A short-term goal is a specific objective the client must master before he or she is able to achieve the long-term goal(s). Short-term goals focus on specific targets, units, tasks, or steps and are usually achieved in a short time period. The short-term goals a client is working on will usually change quickly as he or she masters those and new short-term goals are established.
Short Term Goals
John will use appropriate facial expressions toconvey happiness whenspeaking in 8 of 10 attempts.Ann will correctly read words with the vowelywith 90% accuracy.
Examples of Short Term Goals:
General Guidelines for Writing Goals
Two considerations:A well-written goalmust bemeasurable. The goal must be stated in such a way that the clinician (and anyone else) can assess whether or not the client has performed the goal. For example, a goal stating thata client will understand a conceptwould be impossible to measure. Only by demonstrating through a concrete action (initiate a greeting, for example) can the client perform a goal that can be measured.A well-written goalmust passThe Dead Man Rule.If a dead man could do it, it’s not an effective goal. For example, “Sit in a chair” is not a good goal; a dead man could do that. “Attend to a task for 3 minutes without getting up from the chair,” however, is a goal a dead man could not do.
How to Properly Format Short Term Goals
(Source:The Survival Guide for the Beginning Speech-Language Clinicianby Susan Moon Meyer. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers, Inc. ISBN: D-8342-1116-S.
Well-written goals contain three components:
Important: Please note that all goals begin with the client’s name and a future tense verb (Jane will +verb).
Performance refers to what you expect the client to do or perform to show mastery of the goal.Ex.: Jane willproduce voiceless consonants
The verb used should be concrete and one that can be evaluated by the clinician (Examples ofappropriate verbsincludename, read orally, repeat orally, state, write, match, count, demand, draw, say, reach, remove, etc.)The verb shouldnotbe one that could be interpreted differently by different people (Examples ofinappropriate verbsincludeknow, understand, appreciate, enjoy, learn, believe)
This part of the goal refers to the condition under which the performance is to be done.Ex.: Jane will produce voiceless consonantswhen preceding vowels
Other examples of conditions includewhile producing /a/, inbisyllabicwords, during conversation, while reading, when telling a story, without prompts, within a 2 second period, while talking on the telephone, without yanking theclincian’sarm, during each therapy session)
This part of the goal refers to how well the client is expected to perform the goal (for example,90% of the time, in 8 out of 10 attempts, for three consecutive trials, in two consecutive sessions)Ex.: Jane will produce voiceless consonants when preceding vowelsin 90% of the appropriate contexts
A criterion of 90% is usually used in speech language therapy. In the case of mentally challenged or very young clients, a criterion of 80% is often used.
Samples of well-written goals
John will correctly imitate /s/ in isolation in 8 out of 10 attempts.John will accurately self-correct 90% of the incorrect /s/ productions during reading.
John will produce liquids in 90% of the appropriate contexts.John will close syllables on spontaneously produced monosyllabic target words in 90% of his attempts.
John will spontaneously name 20 of 25 pictures in a children’s dictionary.John will appropriately use the pronouns “he” and “she” during conversation in 90% of his attempts.
John will produce appropriate oral resonance on v-c combinations in 90% of his attempts.John will use appropriate pitch while producing /a/ in 8 out of 10 trials.
John will speak with less than 0.5 stuttered words per minute during 5 minutes of spontaneous conversation with the clinician.John will use pull-outs during all episodes of blocking while speaking on the telephone for 5 minutes.
John will request (by pointing or using eye gaze) an object that is out of reach twice during a 10-minute period.John will take 3 consecutive turns when a familiar joint action routine is initiated by the clinician.
John will sit without kicking for 5 minutes after the removal of constraints (clinician’s hands on client’s knees).John will follow 8 out 10 directions within 2 seconds of initial presentation.