Over 50% of parents put their young children in a day care during working hours. Some parents need their children to be watched while they are at work while others are looking to socialize their kids. Either way, there are a few things to consider when you are choosing a daycare center for your child –especially your special needs child.
- Licensing In most states you are only allowed to watch 3 children, if not your own, without being licensed by the state. Laws may vary state to state, so check out what yours may require if you’re worried about a specific institutions regulations.
Having a license ensures the facilities your child will be in are safe and clean. They follow laws and regulations put into place by your specific state and in some cases the government.
Licensing also assures you that the staff are well-educated caretakers. They have to go through a specific interviewing process and probation period to make sure they are the right people to be working with children.
- Organization Reviews The internet is full of a wealth of information on business today, including the child care facility you may want to place your child in. Go online and research what other parents and families have said about about the institution.
This will give you a great idea of the overall quality of care children are receiving and may ultimately help you make the decision to send your child to this place –or not.
- Personal Character Personal character is quite important when working with special needs children. You want to find child care providers that are patient, loving and nurturing. This will ensure your child is taken care of properly.
Most child care centers allow you to stick around for a day or two with your child to watch them during lunch, snack and recess times. You can usually also participate in art activities. Ask your local child care center if you can bring your child for a day to see if the center is the right fit for the both of you.
- Background Checks Most licensed facilities require their staff to go through a thorough background check. Although, this may vary state to state. Ask your local center if their staff has been checked locally, statewide and nationwide.
If you are uncomfortable with the idea that staff have not been required to have a background check done, you can make the choice to take your child somewhere else.
- Educated Staff
One of the most important things to pay attention to when choosing a childcare center for your child is the particular staff’s education. Not all workers are required to have degrees in education. Some young teachers may be working toward them.
If the staff at the institution you are looking at are not educated in child development, you should at least make certain they are willing to understand your child’s issue and needs and work with them.
New policies may need to be put in place for your child, so you need to find people that will work with you on that count.
- Government Funding
Unfortunately, special needs education is the most underfunded education system in the United States. Finding a daycare center that has funding for the government may be quite difficult, but could weigh heavily in your favor.
Government funded centers have better resources for your special needs children such as: specifically designated programs, one on one time and plenty of resources for staff to learn how to give the best possible care to your children.
The adaptive playground pictured above was funded by the government. It allows children in wheelchairs to play with classmates on the same play structure.
Remember to keep licensing, organization reviews and personal character in mind when choosing a childcare center for your special needs child. This will ensure they are getting the best care possible and hopefully be able to make new friends, learn and grow.