The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. *

What are your goals for your daughter?

The ultimate question from hell. Asked at every early intervention meeting, every  IEP meeting. What a truly messed up question.

The “goal” of the question is nebulous … but the reason for it is clear. Empowerment. Frankly, that’s crap. Don’t try to “empower” me, just fix my daughter.

Ever bring your car to the shop when it is making a funky noise or just not right? Does the mechanic say to you “What is your goal today?”

Please make sure my dwell is 30, plug gaps are .035, the timing should be 5 degrees before TDC, make the idle at 743 rpm, oh, and the point gap for the magneto should be set to .015.

NO. You simply say,

Here are the keys, please fix it.

My goal for my daughter?

I want her to be normal.

It really IS that simple. YOU are the one who spent years in school and years as a (pick one: P.T., O.T., teacher, doctor, therapist) so YOU tell ME what the goals should be. My goal is simple. I WANT HER NORMAL.

Why do they look at me like I have two heads … or sometimes like they want to cry? It is a dumb ass question.

They want me to say …

I want her to learn to use a straw.


I want her to be able to have basic communication.

Well, yes, AS IN “NORMAL”

Let’s say that God, the holy one, blessed be He or She, suddenly and with all intensity and wrath and holiness, shows him/her self to me, face to burning bush. And there is God Almighty. And a voice comes forth and says …

I am God Almighty. I can do anything, including messing up your kids, and you see the great job I did. Well, I ask you now, what is your goal with respect to your two kids? I will grant it to you.

Well, um, let’s see. I could say, I want them to be able to use a straw. No wait, that sucks. Okay, how about walking, no, ummm, talking? No, wait, I got it ..

My goal is for them to be NORMAL. That’s it. N-O-R-M-A-L! Yes, dear God, give me two NORMAL kids, that is my goal! Two normal kids.

So should I lie to a pukey 22 year-old physical therapist or should I answer her question? Don’t empower me with a power that I don’t have. I don’t know what to strive for or what is within reach, YOU DO. You are the trained professional, I am an emotional parent.

It is a stupid question with no point. Do not ask me a question if you will not accept my answer.

The first time I was asked, and was too devastated to fight when they rejected my answer, I revised it and said:

I want her to pick her nose. It is a fine motor skill and she will need it if she is ever to drive on the expressway.

Screw that. I’ll settle for normal.

* The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. – Michelangelo


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