Special needs children can do just as much as children of typical ability levels however they may need accommodations or assistance to participate. The caregivers that work with the child will typically be the go-to person for some accommodations that children will need. It is no different than planning for a child who is unable to tie their shoes during recess time. The caregivers are aware and they are the first line of help for that child.
When planning program accommodations and adaptations it is important to consider the objectives for children with special needs just as you would any other child in your program. There are multiple things to consider such as physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development for special needs children. In addition to these things there may be medical necessities (medication, adaptive equipment, feeding supplies, etc.) that need to be considered and planned for when developing a program. All of this can be summed up under the term "inclusion."
Close your eyes and imagine a classroom where typically-abled children are working alongside children with disabilities. All of the children are participating in the activities in different ways and learning new concepts at their own pace. In an inclusive classroom the children are also learning from their peers on deeper levels than they may be aware of. A child with limited speech may begin picking up more phrases from a child whose speech is developmentally on track. A child with a mobility challenge may be encouraged to try new ways to interact with his friends while playing in the block area because of the peer support.
Children with special needs should be included and supported in an inclusive child care program. This takes some forethought and planning and should include some of the following elements:
People first Vocabulary
Encourage and support acceptance
Materials that showcase diversity and assist in learning
Honest conversations about disabilities
Adequate staffing and appropriate training
Title: Inclusion Source: Better Kid Care Length: 15:14
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