“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” ~Peter Clemenza (The Godfather)

So many posts are pent-up in my brain. It has been a difficult few days. I’ll tease you on some as I get to today’s post …

She-whom-I-should-never-have-married called and said something I found so horrific, I don’t want to ever talk to her again. Or I hope she has cannoli. That will be a post soon, but to brush-up on the history, see this post.

I finally got the wheelchair part we have needed for six weeks. You know how I tell you I hate idiots? Well, I do, and these idiots exposed themselves as idiots (the DME) and I will post about that shortly.

It’s not true that I have a weakness for blond goddesses. Okay, okay, maybe I have a weakness for blond goddesses. But it’s not my fault. Pearlsky and I watched one of my favorite movies, Roxanne, with Daryl Hannah. And, just to make sure that I concentrate on the correct blond goddess, Aphrodite gently pointed out what Ms. Hannah looks like nowadays. Yep, I’m a one blond goddess kind of guy.

By the way, I have moved this blog to a new server. The address is the same (obviously, you are reading this on the new server) but hopefully the response and loading time with be improved. If you find ANY problems, please let me know. (Chiefy’s mom, please contact me! The upload did not work.)

So, ready for today’s post?

Guess what came in today’s mail? Pearlsky’s Progress Report from school!

So, Single Dad, did Pearlsky make any progress?

Glad you asked. Here is the primary page of the report, from the teacher himself. I will intersperse my comments …

Current Performance Level: What can the student currently do?

Her participation and performance of tasks continues to be dependent on her motivation or interest in a task as well as her overall feeling of well being at a given time.

Does that even say anything?

While using a tray, Pearlsky is able to use her elbow, shoulder and trunk to slide objects toward her or push them away from her midline. Although it is more difficult for her to lift objects against gravity, Pearlsky has demonstrated the ability to maintain a fisted grasp on an object. She is most successful when they are visually attractive to her. She is able to maintain her grasp on an object for significantly longer when using her left hand as compared to her right. At times, she is able to release items upon request but it takes a significant amount of time for her to respond.

This says that she holds an object with her right hand for a short time and longer with her left. When she is holding something and you ask her to drop it, she will, but it takes a long time for her to respond. What if you don’t ask her to release it? My guess, she will drop it. All in all, the abilities of an infant. Maybe. Where is the connection with dropping the object and the request?

Pearlsky seems to enjoy various types of sensory input. She enjoys listening to music on her IPOD or the keyboard and making music with various hand held instruments. She enjoys listening to stories on the computer and seems to especially enjoy social interactions. She has a physical response to smells and tastes. It is visually apparent when Pearlsky has a preference. She enjoys the strong smell of coffee, citrus (lemon). She also enjoys strong tasks such as coffee, citrus and foods with spice. She does not seem to enjoy light smells like vanilla.

Pearlsky has not had an IPOD at school for about a year. I stopped sending it in because I found all too often that she was just sitting alone with it on. The teacher must have either cut and pasted that sentence from a past report or outright lied. And no, she is not using any other IPOD since her aides know she is not to. Even I cannot determine what Pearlsky “enjoys.” I know what she does not like, she makes that known, but it is rare for an obvious “enjoyment.” I will need to ask about this. And I am not sure what a “visually apparent … preference” is. Maybe a smile or laugh.

Throughout the day, she continues to try to put her fingers in her mouth and has been wearing ?elbow? [sic] braces to allow for range of movement but restricts her reaching her hands to her mouth.

This is a direct violation of her IEP, the teachers have been told this is forbidden, and yes, the shit is really going to hit the fan when spring break is over. The teacher damn well better have cannoli.

With the assistance of her instructional aide and classroom teacher, Pearlsky participates in a variety of school-based activities throughout the day. She participates in community outings and fieldtrips [sic] as well as in class activities.

Great! “Participates” in outings and field trips. In other words, they push her wheelchair. YES! Progress!

To increase her control over her self-care routine, Pearlsky is given choices in terms of what order she will participate in each task. For example, she is presented with 3 items on her tray in a specific order and whatever item she touches first is the one used. When actually completing the routine, she is able to grasp the brush and with assistance to flex her shoulder, she is able to maintain her grasp while her hair is brushed.

She gets to pick one of three appropriate items by touching. First, is it intentional? Who knows. Second, is it an appropriate choice? THEY ALL ARE. Yes, progress! And she is able to grasp the brush, flex her shoulder and maintain her grasp while her hair is brushed. If her hair is being brushed, then isn’t someone’s hand over her hand that is holding the brush? How can she not maintain her grip with STRONG hand over hand brushing? What idiot wrote this?

She seems to be more involved when a task is presented within the regular classroom routine versus when it is presented within her co-treatment sessions. It is recommended that Pearlsky continue to participate in a daily hand stretching routine. It is also recommended that she continue to participate in the rich experiences that she gets in her classroom.

Says nothing to me.

Measurable Annual Goal: What challenging, yet attainable, goal can we expect the student to meet by the end of this IEP period? How will we know that the student has reached this goal?

Using her upper extremities, Pearlsky will physically access objects in her environment to promote her communication and participation in functional activities throughout the school day in 5 of 7 observable opportunities.

How will we know that the student reached this goal?

Teacher, instructional aide, and therapists [sic] observation and progress report

“How will we know …” “WE” as in, how will the teacher, aide and therapists know that Pearlsky hit or touched stuff? Easy, by this progress report! This report that they write! And we pay these people?

Benchmark/Obiectives: What will the student need to do to complete this goal?

1. Pearlsky will purposefully depress a switch to activate a radio, computer program, lightbox or kitchen appliance in 5 out of 7 opportunities.
2. Using targeted hand and arm movements, Pearlsky will purposefully depress her step—by—step switch to initiate or continue her communication with others in 3 of 5 observable opportunities.
3. Pearlsky will hold desirable objects (ex: kitchen utensils, hand towel, instruments, etc.) for 15 seconds in 4 out of 5 observable opportunities.
4. Pearlsky will physically access her “yes” or “more” switch to communicate her want to continue with an activity or object presented to her in 3 of 5 observable opportunities.

Not going to happen. Look at number 1 … “purposefully” … how on earth will they know Pearlsky’s “purpose.” Random or intentional, how will they know what she is thinking? Same on number 2. As for number 3, “desirable” objects. What, they will also offer a scorpion or hot coal? And number 4 as well, they NEVER put a switch in a position that can ONLY be reached intentionally. I have discussed this with them. If the switch is in a place that there is even potential that she can accidently hit it, what is the point? It is not like she sits still and just moves to hit a switch. She is always moving.

Progress Reports are required to be sent to parents at least as often as parents are informed of their nondisabled children’s progress. Each progress report must describe the student’s progress toward meeting each annual goal.

Pearlsky does not always purposefully depress a switch to activate a switch, radio, lightbox, or kitchen appliance. She activates a computer program more frequently when the switch is right in front of her as opposed to if she has to reach for it. It is not known whether this is purposeful or not.

Of course it is not known if it is purposeful. Without some reliable form of communication we will never know. Well, maybe if you give her a distasteful choice that she always avoids.

Pearlsky responds to the step-by-step switch with facial expressions when she is engaged with it in a conversation with others, it is not known whether she responds purposefully with it.


Pearlsky holds desirable objects with hand-over-hand assistance for 15 seconds when it is an engaging activity such as paint brushing. Pearlsky accesses her ‘yes‘ or ‘more‘ switch to communicate her want to continue an activity in l out of 5 opportunities. She responds with facial expressions more frequently than by using her switches.

Now, all of the sudden, you know “her want”? Where does this come from. How do you know she wants to continue an activity, and only 20% of the time? And she responds with facial expressions more than with switches? What does that mean?

Ah, yes, we have progress.

No, I am not going to complain about the report, yes, I know it is just stuff they have to write, no, it does not really bother me all that much. But it is useless and dumb, at least in this context.

I will be all over the teacher about the “IPOD” and the “?elbow? braces.” Those I will not stand for.

And now, where’s my cannoli?


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