“All of us benefit from a community life where all are welcome, regardless of ability. The lessons of tolerance and appreciation for difference are lessons we can all use from time to time, regardless of our ages!” Inclusion: Integrating Special Kids in a Child Care Setting
Parents of children with special needs need child care too but often times it’s hard to find. I think one of these reasons is not because providers don’t want to provide this essential care but because they aren’t quite sure how to approach it. October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, let’s take some time to consider how to provide the best care to those with special needs. Take a look at the resources below to help provide the best child care possible – to everyone.
- Signing Time: Get a grasp of the value of signing with children attending a webinar presented by Rachel Coleman of “Signing Time.”
- Early Intervention: A webpage from the National Down Syndrome Society breaks down definitions, when to start, how early it can benefit the child and the different types of therapies. At the bottom there is an exhaustive list of resources to consider such as Early Childhood Outcomes Center, Open Books Open Doors (teaching reading to children with Down Syndrome), the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center and Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers.
- Toilet Training Children with Down Syndrome: Steps to help with this process. Much of the information is the same as children without special needs – but take a look and assess the similarities and take note of the differences, for example waiting until a child with Down Syndrome is 3 prior to starting the process.
- Children with Special Needs: A Place of Our Own has a topical discussion as well as related episodes of their show to address different topics of inclusion and special needs. Be sure to look at the right hand navigation bar for more information.
- Education and Down Syndrome: A webpage from the National Down Syndrome Society provides links to internal resources, such as webinars and external resources focused on educating and advocating for individuals with disabilities.
- Health Care Information for Families of Children with Down Syndrome: This document from the American Academy of Pediatrics is valuable to parents and child caregivers to help the adults in the child’s life know what to expect, ask the right questions and seek out information to handle the different health topics for a child with down syndrome.
- Inclusion: Integrating Special Kids in A Child Care Setting: This webpage from Early Childhood News provides caregivers with information about creating a program ready for inclusion. This includes requirements by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), a brief history about the movement for “inclusion” as well as advice for preparing for the first day of a child with special needs in your care. It also has a good list of books for teachers that we link to below.
- Including a Child With Down Syndrome in Your Group: A webpage from Australia is packed with some good information which includes what you can expect from a down syndrome child and how to respond to their unique characteristics such as; hearing, communication, speech and language, eyesight, mobility, fine motor skills, general health, social skills and behavior. It also provides some ideas for curriculum and strategies for learning.
- Implementing Inclusion: A webpage from the National Down Syndrome Society focuses on inclusion for older children, in school settings, but there might be some information applicable to the younger set as well.
- Two Guides Specific to Helping the Caregiver Implement Inclusion in Child Care