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

What Is Inclusive Child Care?

Teacher and preschool girl

In the field of early childhood education, inclusion describes the practice of including children with disabilities in a child care setting with typically developing children of similar ages, with specialized instruction and support when needed. Federal law says that children with disabilities have a protected right to be educated in the least restrictive environment. For many children with special needs, being able to enjoy the experiences and relationships in a child care program isn’t out of reach.

Research has shown …

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 …

Adapting the Child Care Environment for Children with Special Needs

Charlotte Cleverley Bisman, a child with prosthetic arms

Many child care providers work with children who have disabilities or special needs. Remember that children with special needs are children first, and have more similarities than differences from children without disabilities. Every child has a unique personality and special skills. Keep your primary focus on each child’s strengths and abilities as you work to make modifications and adjustments.

Making Adaptations to Include Children with Special Needs

Each child is different, and each delay or disability will require different modifications. …

Learning Disabilities: Signs of Concern

Dyslexia sign written by a childChild care providers are in a unique position to notice if a child seems to be having a difficult time learning or remembering new skills. Child care providers spend many hours a day with children, and have the chance to observe them in many different situations.

Children who are having learning difficulties may show a variety of signs. Some signs may be subtle; others are very obvious. If it seems like a child is struggling to learn or is having …

Talking with and about Children with Special Needs

Serious-looking toddler boy

Working with children who have special needs can be rewarding, and including children with special needs in your child care program can help all children learn. As a child care provider, you can set a tone of respect for all children by choosing your words carefully when you talk about children with disabilities.

Choosing Your Words Carefully

The words you use to describe special needs set the tone in your child care program. The children you care for will pick …

Specific Ideas for Child Care Providers to Help Children with Physical Disabilities

Child using reverse walker

Working with children who have physical disabilities requires thoughtful planning for child care providers. Children with physical disabilities need different types and amounts of assistance and support in order to participate fully in their child care program. Child care providers who are including a child with a physical disability need to get input from the parents, professionals working with the child, and the child himself or herself. That input can help the child care provider make specific plans to accommodate …

Creative Art Activities for Children with Special Needs

Child's hand playing with play dough

Child care providers often have children with special needs included in their programs. Art activities can be a valuable learning experience for many children with special needs, but the art activities given in a child care setting may need to be modified or adapted so that all children may participate in them.

Child care providers should also be aware that they may need to guide children with special needs when helping them with their art activities. Here are some ideas …