3 Questions To Ask When Looking For A Child Care Program For Your Child With Special Needs
If you're the parent of a special needs child, you may be worried about child care programs and finding the right fit for your child. Below are three questions to ask when deciding whether a program is right for your child and whether the program can adequately cater to your child's needs.
Are the Staff Able to Handle Your Child's Needs?
The most important question is the most obvious, but since there are many facets to this one question, it needs to be considered carefully.
If your child is confined to a wheelchair or uses another assistive device, how well can the staff incorporate your child into the classroom and other learning areas? While wheelchair ramps and the like may be required on the grounds, it doesn't mean the classroom will be handicapped-friendly. Another thing to consider is whether the staff can handle your child's unique emotional and mental needs while also working with the other children in the classroom. Will your child's needs to adequately met, or will they be constantly put on the backburner due to time constraints?
Are the Staff Understanding of Necessary Accommodations?
Necessary accommodations will come in many forms, including physical, mental, and emotional. It's important that the staff are aware of all necessary accommodations so they can make an informed decision as to whether your child's needs will be adequately met.
The staff may do the best that they can, but that doesn't always mean your child will get the appropriate accommodations that they deserve. There may be limitations due to space and time, and this can be harmful to your child's learning and development, especially in the early stages. So, while the staff may think the necessary accommodations can be met, it might be a good idea to do a half-day dry run to determine whether this situation will work for all involved.
Are the Staff Able to Actively Include Your Child in the Group?
Depending on the size of the program, as well as the usual activities planned, not all child care programs may be able to ensure your child is actively included in the activity and incorporated into the group.
A child care program with a small student-to-teacher-ratio would be best, as the teacher will be better able to actively participate in your child's day-to-day activities and encourage interaction and participation instead of just overseeing it. The other children in the program may have trouble understanding your child's needs, so a hands-on facilitator may be necessary to ensure that not only is your child participating, but that the other children can learn to relate to your child and interact with them appropriately.
There can be many benefits to integrating your special needs child into a "neurotypical" child care program, but a number of questions need to be addressed and adequately answered beforehand. The above three questions are just the beginning, but they will help you to start a conversation with the child care programs in your area, like Kaye Kare Child Care Center, and find the one that's the right fit.