“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” ~Diana Scharf Hunt

I just got Pearlsky’s Progress Report from school. Well, thank God, it is about time for some progress. Actually, it should be called the Not Progress Report …

Measurable Annual Goal: Pearlsky will use a variety of communication techniques to request activities, objects or to initiate interactions with peers and adults.

How well we know that the student reached this goal?

We will know that she has reached this goal when her intentions are known to communication partners.

That is really what it says. Does this sound a bit like Facilitated Communication (as lambasted discussed here)? It is obvious that no one takes my goal of making her normal seriously.

Measurable Annual Goal: She will actively participate in a morning routine by choosing the order and physically assisting in the activity.

What will the student need to do to complete this goal?

When presented with the lotion, hair brush and toothbrush in a predicable placement, she will choose which she would like to do next by touching it in under 15 seconds.

She doesn’t even do this. But, wow, what an honorable goal.

What’s a dad to do but write an email to the teacher:

I got the progress report yesterday. It’s interesting to note that in her 13 years or so of IEPs and progress reports she has never once reached a goal.

What does that tell you?

To which she replies …

I can only speak to the past two and a half years, but in that time she has been making great progress. Her current progress report indicates that she is progressing towards all of her goals. She has reached several individual objectives towards her goals this year. Consistency has remained an issue because there are certainly times when she is “more with us” (as we were talking about at the Thanksgiving lunch). Her current IEP expires in March and I expect us to adjust goals that she has reached.

So I write back …

I disagree with the concept of “goals” and always have. I don’t see that she has really reached any, yes, at times there is some consistency when she is “on,” but even then it is hardly better than chance.

Intentional reaching one out of three tries (Vision information page) seems less than chance, but I have not done statistics in a very long time. Many items in the report border on “facilitated communication” which is a complete farce in itself, and a trap WE ALL fall into. Her “facial expressions” are mentioned many times … note that when she is very irritated (physically) and even sometime when she is in pain, she reacts by kicking, laughing and smiling, a very different than expected reaction. Facial expressions may be valid when read as we read our own, but quite often hers have a very different meaning.

To be clear, none of this is a reflection upon you or the class or the therapists, if anything it reflects on my daughter and on me. She has never reached a goal, so I still do not see the difference between the goals we are forced to come up with, or my true goal, for her to be “normal.”

I am attempting to set her up with a different set of communication specialists, I have come to the conclusion (along with multiple others in that field) that the work attempted in the past  is basically useless. I will keep you fully informed as this gets going.

Do keep up the great work, the efforts, the dream, they are greatly appreciated. But do not forget that the biggest obstacle to achieving any goal that is created is Pearlsky herself.

Why is getting nowhere fast so tiring?


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