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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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 …

Physical Disabilities: Signs of Concern

Baby with club feet

Child care providers are in a good position to recognize problems or delays in young children’s physical and motor development. As they work with children, child care providers should observe their developing physical and motor skills. Pay close attention to a child who does not seems to be progressing through the typical motor developmental milestones — such as holding up the head, rolling over, sitting, standing, walking, and running — at about the same time as other children in the …

Social and Emotional Disabilities: Signs of Concern

Boy pouting

Child care providers are often the first people to recognize signs of a social or emotional disability, because they have the opportunity to observe a child in social situations day after day. Remember that most children in child care sometimes have difficulties playing with others, following rules, accepting change, or not getting their way. Some emotional displays are typical, but children who struggle with these issues so often that they become a frequent interruption may need professional evaluation of their …