Selecting a daycare for your child can be extremely stressful and challenging. There are many factors that go into your decision, including the accommodations that are needed for a child with special needs and the capabilities of the staff. Some daycares may even request you supply information regarding medications and sensitivities, leading to worry about whether you are including too much or too little information for a child you care about so much. To hopefully lessen the stress, we will discuss here the factors to consider while selecting the perfect daycare for your child.
First, take a closer look at the components of the caretakers. It’s a good idea to stick around while touring and watch how the caretakers interact with the children who attend. Are they sitting down with the children? Talking to them at eye-level? Are any children being ignored? Make sure the caregivers are being patient, nurturing, and attentive, both when you’re watching and when you’re not. Overall, you are paying them to give your child the best care possible and you want someone who will encourage and love them.
Another important component when choosing a caretaker is trust. You want to leave your child with someone who is not only trustworthy but will also hopefully mirror (as much as possible) the focus you give your child. It’s important to know that the caretaker will be following the directions you left them. Go with your gut: if you don’t think this person will meet the demands of your child, odds are good that no extended period of time will let you trust them and the relationship between caretaker and parent won’t work.
It’s important to know that American Disability Act (ADA) does not allow daycare centers to refuse your child due to their special needs. This is important to note because far too many special needs parents may feel the daycare run-through is an audition: a daycare cannot turn you and your child away. Also, daycares under the ADA have to (reasonably) accommodate your child. Don’t hesitate to ask for the daycare’s daily schedule and look for situations where your child might be left out. Even more, ask the caretakers what they would do to try to include your child.
Even though daycares cannot turn you away, that doesn’t mean they understand your child’s situation. Are the caretakers familiar with Cerebral Palsy? If they are, that’s great! If not, which is an unfortunate reality in those areas where child care options are limited, you can explain your child’s exact situation or even refer them to our website to learn more about Cerebral Palsy in general. The caretakers should be willing to learn more so they can provide your child with the best care possible. And don’t hesitate to specify how Cerebral Palsy impacts your child – this is about a fit, not holding back.
Finally, as you are choosing a daycare for your child with Cerebral Palsy, think about specific information to provide to them. Here are a couple things to consider:
- Medication List. If medicine has to be given in their care, tell them how much and when to give it to your child so there is no confusion.
- Sensitivities: Provide a list of sensitivities that you know your child has. This makes it easier for the caretakers and for your child, both in enjoying certain activities while also avoiding others.
- Food Restrictions or Special Diets: If the daycare provides food, ask for the menu and highlight what your child can or cannot eat. If your child is on a special diet, you can always pack food for the caretakers to substitute instead of the daycare’s food.
- Physical Limitations: Be open and clear with limits your child has – safety is more important than having an open conversation.
Overall, there are many things to consider when selecting the right daycare for your child. It is easy to get stressed while choosing, but focusing on the things discussed above can help you find a daycare that your child will thrive in. Every child deserves the best care possible and finding an environment where they can be encouraged and loved is rewarding. Do you have suggestions for us that we didn’t include? Let us know with a comment below.
If you have any questions regarding Cerebral Palsy or care for your child with CP, don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 692-4453(800) 692-4453 FREE or fill out our contact form on Facebook or our website.