Child Care Aware® of Missouri supports the right of every infant and young child and his or her family to participate in a broad range of activities and settings. We hope that children with and without disabilities and their families have a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential.
How Do I Find an Inclusive Child Care Program?
Our database includes information about child care programs that have experience working with children who have various special needs. An “inclusive” program is one that includes children with and without disabilities in the same routines and play activities. Caregivers in inclusive programs learn to recognize each child’s strengths and needs. They make creative changes to routines and activities so that each child can be successful. The Referral Center can help match a program to your child’s needs. For more information regarding inclusive child care, contact us at 1-866-892-3228.
- Speak clearly about your child’s strengths and unique qualities.
- Tell the child care staff about your child’s routine, likes, dislikes, and what makes him or her happy or sad.
- Be honest about what your child needs, including any special assistance or equipment.
- Be willing to help your child care program solve problems that might arise.
- Stand up for your child’s rights and trust your knowledge and ability to share what you have learned about your child.
What if a Program Doesn’t Want to Take My Child Because of His or Her Special Needs?
With any child care facility, a good “fit” is important. You want to find someone you can trust and with whom you can develop a good working relationship. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) considers child care facilities to be public accommodations and requires them to address the needs of people with disabilities, just like theaters and restaurants. This requirement means that children with disabilities cannot be excluded from a program solely because of a disability.
Under the ADA, child care programs are required to make reasonable accommodations to address the needs of individuals with disabilities. Imagination, a positive attitude, and a child-centered approach can usually produce creative and achievable accommodations.
How Will Other Children React to a Child with Diverse Needs and Abilities?
Young children are very accepting. When they see adults who are warm and accepting, they will display warmth and acceptance. Rejection of children with diverse needs and abilities is unusual. In fact, one of the benefits of inclusive child care is increased sensitivity toward individual differences.
Can My Child’s Special Services be Coordinated with His or Her Child Care?
It is important that everyone working with and caring for your child stay connected.
Ask your child care program to be included in Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings.
If your child is under three years of age, ask your First Steps Service Coordinator to arrange for services to be delivered in the setting of your choice, including child care. Work with the person responsible for coordinating your child’s services in your local public school system.