There are some characteristics that are essential in high quality child care whether your child has disabilities or not.
High quality child care programs include:
- Low teacher-to-student ratios
- Teachers with certifications in the field of early childhood education and years of experience working with young children
- Communication between the administration, teachers and families
- Child care programs that offer their employees benefits and fair wages so that they have low staff turnover rates.
In order to make sure that a child with a disability has the best child care setting, ask the right questions.
- Does the teaching staff have experience working with children with disabilities, especially the type of disability that your child has?
- Does the program offer therapeutic services such as speech and language pathology, occupational therapy or physical therapy?
- If the program doesn’t have someone on-site who offers these services, will the facility collaborate with a therapist that you select to work with your child?
- Will the therapist be allowed to come to the child care program to work with your child?
- Is the teaching staff willing to attend special education meetings to offer input when the service coordinator and therapists are planning appropriate goals for your child?
- Are children with disabilities integrated into the classroom setting with children without disabilities?
- Integration allows children with disabilities to have positive peer role models, and it maintains a balance of ability levels so that teachers can meet everyone’s needs in the educational environment.
- Does the child care program mandate that children must be walking or toilet-trained by certain ages or do they allow children to develop at their own pace?
- Do the materials and books in the classroom reflect diversity, including children with special needs?
Ultimately, you want to select a child care program that can help your child develop physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally.
You also want to find child care providers who will make it the highest priority to communicate your child’s progress with you throughout the school year.
If everyone (teachers, therapists, and the family) is working together as a team to help the child develop, then your child will be successful in his or her child care center.