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 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

Physical Disabilities and Child Care

Blue lightweight wheelchair

Child care providers can play a valuable role in supporting the healthy development and learning of children with physical disabilities. Young children learn about the world by interacting with their environment. Children with a physical disability may have more challenges in interacting with the world and discovering new things.

A physical disability is anything that limits the physical function of the child’s body. Physical disabilities can include challenges with large motor skills like walking, or small motor skills like holding …

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 …