Caring for Children with Special Needs from Military Families

Child using reverse walker
Being a child care provider means doing your very best to provide excellent care and learning opportunities to young children, including those with disabilities and other special needs. A recent study has found that child care providers who have experience and training in caring for children with special needs along with typically developing children find it challenging, but also rewarding, to be able to provide such a valuable support to these families.*

Added Challenges for Military Families

Providing valuable support …

Child Care for Children with Special Needs

Child and adult playing with musical instruments

Child care providers often work with children who have identified special needs. Working with children who have special needs can be very rewarding if you understand the child and his special need and make appropriate accommodations to support his learning and development. The following articles will help child care providers support children with special needs in a group child care setting.

Seeing Children First

As a child care provider, it’s important to remember that children with special needs are children

Ways Child Care Providers Can Support Siblings of Children with Special Needs

Girls hugging each other

Child care providers who work with children with special needs may also provide support and care to their siblings. Being the sibling of a child with an identified special need can be challenging to a child. Sibling relationships are unique…and complicated! When one of those siblings has special needs, it adds yet another layer of complexity, even with young children. The loving support of a child care provider can help siblings navigate the complicated emotions of having a brother or …

Ways Child Care Providers Can Prepare for Enrolling a Child with Special Needs

Infant with cochlear implant

Starting a new school is a BIG event, and not just for the child! Especially for very young children, starting a new child care program is both exciting and worrisome for children and parents, and even child care providers! And this is especially true for children who have been identified as having a disability or special learning need.

If you are a family child care provider, an early childhood teacher, or a child care program administrator, here are some suggestions …

What Do Child Care Providers Need to Know about IEPs and IFSPs?

If child care providers have children with special needs in their programs, they may have heard the terms IEP and IFSP.  What do these terms mean, and how do they help child care providers better educate children with special needs? 

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Individualized Education Programs, or IEPs, are plans developed to guide the education of a child with special needs between ages 3 and 21 in the early childhood or school setting. The federal Individuals with Disabilities …

Peer Support for Children with Special Needs

Children holding hands

Friendships are important for everyone at all stages of life. Including children with special needs in a child care classroom with typically developing children can be beneficial to developing friendships among children with different strengths and abilities.

In an inclusion classroom, the child with a special need has the opportunity to interact with typically developing children and form genuine friendships with them. At the same time, the other children have chances to interact with people whose abilities vary and to …

Building Portfolios with Children with Special Needs

Two Women Discussing a Child's Portfolio

Every child is unique. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams. Parents and child care providers alike should strive to get to know each child. Through everyday interactions, such as talking, reading, and playing, a child care provider develops a rapport with the child that provides a glimpse as to who they are. This information is important and should be documented. 

Why Are Portfolios Useful?

Portfolios are a great way to capture information …

Social and Emotional Disabilities and Child Care

Angry todler

As young children grow from infants to toddlers to preschoolers, they learn to interact with other people. Child care providers can play an important role in helping children with social and emotional disabilities be successful, both in early childhood and as they enter kindergarten. Being able to follow directions, play well with others and begin to understand the feelings of others are important skills for all children. These are some of the skills that kindergarten teachers want children to have …

Specific Ideas for Child Care Providers to Help Children with Social and Emotional Disabilities

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Working with a child who has a social or emotional disability can be challenging in the child care setting. Children with social and emotional disabilities may display one of three types of extreme behavior: withdrawal, aggression, or high activity level. Each type of behavior may require a different type of support in order for the child to participate successfully in the child care setting.

Children with social and emotional challenges need consistent daily schedules and dependable interactions …

How can I approach parents when I have concerns about their child's aggressive behavior?

One of the most important components of high-quality child care is positive communication between a child care provider and parents. Communication is not  easy, especially when addressing concerns about their children. Here are a few simple strategies child care providers can use to communicate concerns with parents.

  • Use “I” messages. They will help you speak honestly about your feelings without placing blame on the parent. Focus on how you are feeling and how behaviors affect you or other children. Try