Inclusive Child Care
All children are unique, whether they have a disability or not. Child care providers and programs are also unique.
Child care is a learning environment. Children learn through play and interactions with each other and their caregivers. Inclusive child care provides care for all children, with or without disabilities.
Inclusive child care has many benefits for all involved, including the child with a disability, his or her family, the child care provider, and other children in the program. However, these benefits are not automatic. Research has shown that a child with a disability may not show developmental gains simply by being placed in a program with children who do not have disabilities. In order for inclusive child care to be successful, providers and families must be deliberate, prepared, and committed to on-going assessment and training.
Providing care for children with special needs can be challenging, but also very rewarding. It is important to be aware of the different special needs, including physical and mental disabilities, that can affect children. No one expects you to be an expert, but you should keep an open mind and be willing to learn. There are resources available to help you provide child care for children with special needs. One resource is Child Care Plus ME.