Your Guide to Special Needs Childcare

Special Needs Childcare

In general, finding proper childcare is not easy. Searching for the right childcare becomes even more difficult for parents with special needs. Regarding childcare for special needs children, it’s a lot more particular. Not just any childcare will do. After all, parents with special needs children have to be discerning to ensure their child’s unique needs are met. With that said, it can feel tricky for such parents to find a childcare centre that properly handles the necessities of special needs children. If you’re a parent with a special needs child, see what you need to do to ensure the best childcare for them!

Understanding a Child with Special Needs

At first impression, the term ‘special needs’ can seem rather vague. There is a reason for that, as it’s more of an umbrella term for children who must have their diverse needs met. That said, it’s important to understand what ‘special needs’ means. Knowing what special needs entail can help you as a parent to understand the right childcare for your child.

In the context of special needs children, it’s defined as a child who may require assistance for disabilities that are either medical, mental, or psychological.

Here are a few common examples of children with disabilities who would be considered special needs:

  • Autism
  • ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Down Syndrome

As you can tell, these examples of children with special needs all have distinct disabilities from one another. Therefore, they all have unique needs to be met. Furthermore, it’s imperative to consider the severity of your child’s disability. For instance, two children may have ADHD, but one has more issues than the other. That’s why it’s important to understand your child’s abilities to ensure whatever childcare you’re looking for can properly accommodate them.

What to Consider with Special Needs Childcare

Every child is different. Just as special needs children have diverse needs, not all require the same form of childcare. What one child might need may be different from another.

As a parent, you know your child’s strengths, behaviours, and abilities best. When scoping out for proper childcare, you want to remember anything to help meet their needs to the fullest. Here are a few key questions you need to consider:

  • Addressing Accessibility: Does your child have mobility issues? If so, you want to ensure any childcare facility you check out has a wheelchair-friendly ramp, lift, or elevator. As your child goes about their day, they must have accessible equipment for chairs, tables, and restrooms for proper assistance. For instance, children with cerebral palsy who use a mobile wheelchair would benefit greatly from a place that provides various forms of accessibility. So, don’t be shy when searching for childcare, and see if they can accommodate all your child’s needs.
  • Right Training & Education: Another important question is: do the staff have experience and training in special needs childcare? After all, if you wish for your child to get the proper education they deserve, you want to ensure how they go about a curriculum and how they intend to accommodate your child’s learning needs. Furthermore, you want to ensure staff have prior experience caring for special needs children. Instead of hoping you can teach a childcare worker how to care for your child, you can rest assured that someone is qualified and is great at what they do. 
  • Environmental Interactions: Lastly, a good question to ask yourself is: is this a good environment for my child? You want to ensure how the staff and children interact with one another. It can indicate whether it’s a happy, inclusive childcare facility. Potential red flags are seeing neglect of kids from disengaged staff. Also, just seeing whether the children there are friendly and open, especially to any special needs kids. Also, research these places you’re considering for childcare. You can bet you can find plenty of honest reviews from other special needs parents that can help steer you to the right place for childcare.

As a parent with a special needs child, you are your child’s biggest advocate. Part of doing so is ensuring they get the best childcare during their formative years. Hopefully, this gave much-needed insight into getting the right childcare for them.

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