I'm happy to report that we have completed Natalie's IEP for this year. After the original IEP didn't even get to her goals for the next year, we scheduled Part 2 to review the goals. The unexpected event yesterday was that Natalie's teacher went home sick in the morning, and wasn't able to attend the IEP in the afternoon. And that might have been what made the IEP so great! Don't get me wrong: Natalie's teacher is a great teacher, but she is needing to be re-educated on how to teach a special needs child (she's never taught a child with as many delays as Natalie) and what to expect of a special needs child.
Anyway, Tom and I are very happy with the outcome and see that the goals are realistic but also exciting for Natalie to achieve this year. New for Natalie is a behavior plan, and we were happy to also meet a behavior specialist who had observed Natalie a few times and worked with Natalie's one-on-one aide on how to help Natalie redirect and change the disruptive behavior. The behavior specialist was also great in that she differentiated some of the talking Natalie does in class: there's the self-talk that Natalie does while she's sitting at her seat working on school work, which is appropriate and fine (although probably not preferred by the teacher, we shouldn't focus on changing that); and then there is the talking and outbursts that occur while the teacher is teaching the class, which are not appropriate.
We also discussed accommodations for Natalie: a foam wedge pad for her to sit on and a footrest so that she can have better stability in her body while she's doing schoolwork; being able to use Pip Squeak markers (short, fat markers) instead of pencils for writing; using a slantboard for writing. Natalie is already giving verbal responses for spelling tests and math, since her writing is poor and it's difficult for her to keep up during a test environment.
We talked about Natalie using letter tiles at her desk to complete a test instead of doing it orally, and using number tiles for math...until she's able to write better. She's nearly caught up to where she was at the end of last school year with writing (there was a lot of regression over the summer), and we hope she can really improve during this school year. I'll have to post a video of her practicing her spelling words...it's really great how well she can spell even in her head.
Anyway, it's a relief to have the IEP part over, and now we can just work on her goals! Photo credit to Lukas for taking this great picture of his sister at the San Diego Safari Park today...more pictures soon!