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Choosing Care for a Child with
Mrs. Jones of Sanger, Texas, has a son with ADHD, Pervasive
Developmental Disorder (PDD) and anxiety. She placed
her son in child care when he was still a baby. Her experience,
for the most part, has been positive. She feels that
the experience was a good one for her child——and
that child care centers can provide parents a place where
they know their child is being taken care of, while at
the same time getting companionship.
“I really find that children in day care are
better socialized and adjust better. I can’t imagine
what it would have been like for us if we wouldn’t
have put him in care,” says Jones. “Parents
need a break sometimes. Some days I would put him in
daycare so I could have a day at home.”
Choosing child care for any child can be an arduous
and stressful task, but for parents of a special needs
child, it can also be a very confusing and emotional
experience. Here are some tools that can help.
ADA 101: Parents’ Basic Rights
There are many things that have to be considered when
placing a special needs child with a child care provider,
such as the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) child
care laws, what questions to ask and what to look for
when visiting a potential center or care giver.
With the exception of child care centers run by religious
entities, all child care providers, including small home
based providers, must comply with Title III of the ADA
laws. According to the Department of Justice Website,
the basic requirements of Title III are as follows:
- Centers cannot exclude children with disabilities
from their programs unless their presence would pose
a direct threat to the health or safety of others
or require a fundamental alteration of the program.
- Centers have to make reasonable modifications
to their policies and practices to integrate children,
parents, and guardians with disabilities into their
programs, unless doing so would constitute a fundamental
- Centers must provide appropriate auxiliary
aides and services need for effective communication
with children or adults with disabilities, when doing
so would not constitute an undue burden.
- Centers must generally make their facilities
accessible to persons with disabilities. Existing
facilities are subject to the readily achievable
standard for barrier removal, while newly constructed
facilities and any altered portions of existing facilities
must be fully accessible.
Tips on Choosing Care
Once a parent is ensured that the care giver they are
considering is in compliance with the ADA laws, they
should visit the facility at an unannounced time
to observe the activities of the center and the quality
of care the children are receiving. This is one of
the most important steps of choosing a child care
center or provider. If they won’’t allow
you into the center or home if you show up unannounced,
be aware. It probably means they are not providing
Once a parent feels comfortable that a center or provider
is providing adequate care, they should set up an appointment
to speak with the child care administrator or provider
to ask important questions about the quality and type
of care their child will receive. They should also
use the time in the center or home to further observe
the activities and the center itself.
Parents should pay special attention to how the center
is organized. Look around and see if the center is
child friendly, for example, if toys and supplies are
within reach of a child to make it easier for the child
to help him/herself. Look at the pathways in the center
to make sure they are clear of obstructions and easy
for the child to maneuver through and also observe
if the restrooms are readily accessible and child friendly.
You should also pay attention to the ratio of care
givers to children. Are there enough care givers that
your child will be taken care of and receive the attention
that he or she needs.
One indication of whether or not a child care facility
is child oriented and not just geared towards parents
is the location of the children’s’ artwork.
There are times when a center wants to showcase artwork
for parents, but the artwork of the children also needs
to be on their eyelevel so they can see and take pride
in their accomplishments.
While talking to care giver, parents need to be sure
to ask specific questions, such as the experience the
care giver has in dealing with special needs children,
what kind of schedules and routines the care giver
has in case accommodations need to be made for the
child, what kind of experience and training (if any)
are provided to other care givers that may be taking
care of your child, and what they can do to accommodate
the special needs of a child.
Parents should also be sure to provide care givers with
all the pertinent information they’ll need to know
to assure the best quality of care. Parents need to be
honest about their child’s disabilities and needs
and discuss any concerns the provider may have. This
is an important step in assuring open and honest communication
between the parent and care giver. There should be a
partnership between both parties to insure the success
of the child while in the center or home.
With the right support, placing a child with special
needs in a day care center or with a home based care
provider can be very successful. The most important thing
is to find a provider that is both licensed and monitored.
Once the emotional hurdle is overcome and the stress
of finding the right center is lifted, it can be beneficial
to both the parent and the child.
Legal Disclaimer. This information has been provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. The receipt of this information does not establish an attorney client privilege. Proper legal advice can only be given upon consideration of all the relevant facts and the law. Therefore, you should not act upon any information contained herein without seeking appropriate legal counsel.
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