Firstborn: Smart Moms design “S.M.A.R.T. Goals”

September 10th, 2004 arrived. The district arrived with another prepared IEP. The goals were still vague and not measurable. I suggested that we go through the report and identify each need for my son and then write a goal to address that need. The lawyer and team seemed agitated. It seemed they had never written goals that way. They were use to going in the district’s canned computer IEP program and just checking off goals that they thought seemed to apply.

I was learning alot from the IEP Guide:

I met a handful of tremendous advocates through the list. No, these weren’t private pay for hire advocates. These were true life parents and family members of children with special needs who had been down in the ditches. It was almost like I had developed my own private team to strategize with concerning my son and his IEP issues, even non IEP issues as well. Till this day some of these people I consider my very best friends.

I learned through the group that according to the law the IEP team to is to describe the child’s “present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.” Present levels of performance should identify the child’s unique needs that result from his or her disability. Once the needs are identified the team should be able to write goals to address each need.

I had also attended a Pete Wright seminar by now and learned about SMART Goals which stands for:

“S Specific”
“M Measurable”
“A Use Action Words”
“R Realistic and relevant”
“T Time-limited”

You can learn more about SMART Goals at:

In any event, the team wasn’t going for it. They said they would not go through the thirty six page report page by page. They said they were ending the meeting and suggested that I write the goals for them to consider adding into the IEP. They got up and left me. I was a bit shocked but not surprised.
September 13, 2004 the attorney sent a letter documenting that I had been unsatisfied with the original goals presented during the summer IEP meeting and continued to be unsatisfied with the re-written goals presented on September 10th. The letter ended that I should write the goals and objectives and present them to the district for them to be “considered.”

Then on September 15, 2004 the special education director sent a letter to me confirming they had reconsidered the request to provide vision therapy for my son but had decided again they must deny this service because, “Vision Therapy is a medical procedure and not an educational service.” Well at least that was according to them.

September 26, 2004 I was taking my son to to another Developmental Behavioral Optometrist for a second opinion with a top doctor in the field. Best yet he was located in New Jersey. His name was Dr. Leonard Press:

As far as I was concerned the school WOULD be providing vision therapy so I was strongly pursuing it. At the time Dr. Press’ office didn’t even have faith that the school would pay for such a service. Although vision therapy is very popular in areas such as California and provided by schools, here in New Jersey there was only one known case of a school providing vision therapy. Ironically this was because the school district wanted to provide the service for the student despite the parents denial and so it was taken to the Office of Administrative Law. Of course, the school district won. Parents rarely win a due process here in New Jersey.    

My next step was going back to the superintendent. After all he was new to the district and in his short time here he had done more for my son then my current child study team had without the waiting game by approving the neuropyschological testing and the test for vision therapy. I set up an appointment with him, drafted a letter, and started to get together all of the facts to present my case………….

Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT


About danadogooder

Happily married for 20 years except when he is pissing me off! ' Mommy of 3 boys, a yellow female lab named Curious, 2 kitties Trouble and Kornelia, and bird and fish! Yes, we have a Zoo! Love to cook, entertain, and travel. I give new meaning to, "You can't fight city hall" Cause I fought worse, "Yes, The Board of Ed! " I live in a houseful of ADHD, Dyslexia, Auditory Processing, Sensory Integration and Allergies!!! I love being a Mom, to have fun and am always joking around! My job titles are: Wife, Mommy, Advocate, Friend, Maid, Cook, Self Employed Business Owner among many others!
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3 Responses to Firstborn: Smart Moms design “S.M.A.R.T. Goals”

  1. Dee says:


    I am learning so much from reading your blog! Thank you for sharing your experience. I must say that I am a bit concerned when you mention that no parent in NJ has won Due Process. What should parents in NJ do if that’s the case?

    Would love to talk to you more about the vision therapy as I am looking at that option for my son as he has dyslexia.


    • danadogooder says:

      No pro se’ parents had won in N.J. at the time I did but some will win with the help of an attorney! I’ll send you a private message to e-mail me directly.

  2. Pingback: Curious about Vision Therapy’s Wider Impacts | Brain and Head Health

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