Finding child care or babysitters for your children should be a process in which careful assessment is made and an informed decision is made after all factors have been considered. Choosing appropriate care for disabled childrenrequires more caution and discernment as your special needs child requires customized care for physical, cognitive and intellectual development.
Choosing the Right Kind of Care for Disabled Children
Before settling on a professional, consider the options for care for special needs children.
- Child minders provide care for disabled children in their (child minder’s) own homes, while nannies will care for the child in the child’s own home. While childminders may have specific timings, many can work with flexible timings, depending on the schedule of the child’s parents and the number of children allowed for one child minder to manage at a time.
- Nannies are usually more flexible in their timings, and can provide care for disabled children in the comfort of a familiar home and surroundings.
- Day care centers and pre-school nurseries provide care for disabled children up to five years of age for a few hours a day and some offer all-day child minding services.
Care for Special Needs Children – Parents’ Tips
- Qualification of child minder: The first factor to consider is qualifications and registration when it comes to finding child care for special needs children. With registrations, child care professionals go through tests and checks to ensure that they are suitable to be with children, that they work with parents to provide service in the best interest of the child, and that they create an atmosphere that is conducive for happiness, learning and safety.
- Interview with child minder: Set aside time when trying to find care for special needs children to talk to the professional you are considering, and treat this as an interview. Explain your child’s needs in full, and ask about facilities and activities for children. When discussing your requirements with the potential child minder, remember that you know your child best and understand what he or she needs; you need to communicate what you want from care for your special needs child.
- Childcare setting: The best way to recognize whether a child minder will provide the best care for your special needs child is to visit them in their homes. If other children seem happy and well-cared for, if there is enough space for learning games and creative stimulus, then the child minder is likely to be good at the job. Other co-workers there should seem happy and caring as well.
- Other commitments: When deciding on a form of care for disabled children, parents need to consider regular medical or therapy appointments as well, and whether the childcare provider will be able to take the child to these sessions.
- Appropriate care for disabled children: Finding childcare for disabled children is not only about the child minder. Observe the age- and ability-appropriateness of the activities to understand if your child will fit in and be happy.
- Medical requirements: If your child has medical needs or treatment, the child minder should be able to administer treatment correctly and efficiently. For many parents, a child minder should have experience in caring for special needs children with the same condition, and this is a valid preference, especially if the disability is severe.
Care for disabled children requires training, experience, patience and understanding, but a certified professional will be more likely to help your special needs child develop and grow.
1. Child care options. National Childminding Association
2. Registered and approved childminders. Parent’s Centre
4. Childcare for disabled children. Direct Gov UK