Quality Child Care for Children with Special Needs

Find Quality Child Care for Children with Special Needs

When it comes to finding child care, every parent wants and needs the absolute best care for their child when they can’t be there themselves. This means that parents are looking for a caregiver or program that is nurturing, safe, responsive, engaging, challenging, and is a positive learning environment with a good child to teacher ratio.

Parents of children with special needs are not alone when it comes to finding the highest-quality child care for their child. In Georgia, parents can contact Quality Rated at (1-877-255-4254) for resources and referrals. Additionally, you can contact your local school district and early intervention program for resources and help as well as ask other parents for assistance.

These are some basic indicators of quality that every parent should see and listen for when visiting potential child care programs, and more can be found in the “More Information” links below:

  • Is the program licensed and Quality Rated?

  • Are the children happy and being comforted by staff?

  • Are staff trained in early childhood education and receive ongoing training?

  • Is there a developmental focus to the activities going on?

  • Does the space look clean, bright and well cared for with lots of books and creative play areas?

However, for parents of children with developmental delays or disabilities, finding a school that fits your needs best requires a few more questions and indicators to ensure that your child is in the right program:

  • What are the guidelines and procedures for including children with special needs?

  • Are there special accommodations you will need to make at your program to include my child?

  • How will my child be introduced to the adults and other children?

  • What do you consider “special needs?”

  • How will my child be included in special activities and field trips?

  • Are therapeutic services such as occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT) and speech therapy provided on site, if possible?

  • Is the facility physically accessible for my child and accommodates adaptive equipment?

  • Do you have anyone on staff that hay special training, skills or experience with children with special needs?

More Information:

Changing Unwanted Behavior

How Do You Change Unwanted Behavior?

Do you feel like some days you just can’t get it right no matter what you do? She cries if you don’t pick her up then she cries if you do. She wants a toy at the store and throws a tantrum when you say “no.” At home you put her down for a nap, but she won’t stay in her room even though she is cranky and yawning and so badly needs to rest. She wants oatmeal, her favorite breakfast, but when she gets it she flings it across the room and then cries because she is hungry.

Where did your sweet and gentle child go? What is happening? And how can you make it stop?

First of all, parents, be gentle with yourselves. This too is all part of your child’s development, and you can expect plenty of tantrums and meltdowns around the age of two. Even so, unwanted behaviors are hard to understand, predict, prevent, and respond to effectivel in the moment.

The best thing to do is try to be patient and look for patterns in your young child’s behavior: Does she have a crying spell before lunch or nap every day? If so, consider changing her routine by feeding her or putting her down for her nap 15 to 30 minutes earlier than usual.

It’s also important to understand that your child isn’t intentionally having an emotional outburst. When young children have tantrums it’s because they usually can’t communicate their frustration or their feelings. For instance, a baby knows that when she cries, you will respond by picking her up, cuddling her or just checking in to make sure she is okay. But crying alone may not tell you her tummy hurts. Since she can’t talk, this is the way she communicates. Behavior is communication and is not random.

Expert Suggestions for Changing Your Child’s Behavior:

  • Try distracting your child by changing the room, the activity, or whatever it is that you were doing.

  • Reduce the room noise as it may have over-stimulated your child or she may have some sensory issues not yet identified.

  • Model the behaviors you want to teach your child: Teach sharing by inviting her to do an activity such as a puzzle, reading or painting with you and sharing all of the materials.

  • Help your child have more control over her environment by offering her choices. Stick with only two as too many are overwhelming.

  • Try ignoring behavior that is not aggressive or hurtful such as whining, arguing or bargaining. You are not being a bad parent. This method simply does not provide attention to the child when doing a negative behavior.

  • On the other hand, praise the positive behavior when it occurs. This lets your child understand that you are paying attention and respect her.

  • Children love routines. Be consistent with your child’s routine so he knows what to expect and follow through on what you say.

  • Try to avoid changes or disruptions to his schedule. Prepare your child ahead of time so that he has time to get used to the idea.

More Information:

learning to share

Learning to Share Can be Hard for Young Children

Just because you tell your child to share or “play nice” doesn’t mean they know how to do so . . . yet. But with time and help learning what it means to take turns, to play cooperatively, and to share, you just might hear a lot less of “mine, mine, mine” or “I had it first!” Also, keep in mind that most children do not develop this skill until they are between three and four years old.

First, teach your young child what it means to share. Toddlers may not warm up to it right away but by introducing them to sharing with you, it will help when it is time to share with others. For instance, if you have an apple, you can let your child have half the apple with you. Let her help cut it then show her how you give her one slice and you take one slice until all the slices are gone, and let her know that you are sharing.

Next, explain why you are sharing and how it is important. For example, “I really like it when grandma visits and I want to share my book with her because I know she will like this story.”

Here are some simple ways to help your children become better sharers:

  • Set the example: Be an avid sharer with family and friends.

  • Help your child use toys like balls, blocks, puzzles, jump ropes that make sharing easier and more fun.

  • Praise your child when they share on their own.

  • Thank your child for sharing. Yes, it’s praising but also a way to show your respect for their actions.

  • Teach your child how to use a visual or auditory cue for sharing, such as a sand timer or a song, that indicates that each child receives a turn for an allotted amount of time.

  • If children are having a hard time sharing, help them come up with other solutions and ask theirs, and their peers, for other options.

  • Don’t punish your child for not sharing. Just keep trying.

Is it ever okay not to share?

Sure, it is. If your child has some toys or books that are meaningful to her, let her know it is okay to put those toys away while friends are over but that she can’t play with them either until her friends leave.

Additionally, say your child is on the swing but not ready to give up her turn. She should not just jump off the swing immediately when another child is ready to swing. Instead, use this time as an example of modeling the behavior you want to see in your child. For example, say to the other child: “You are being so patient waiting for your turn on the swing. When Violet is through in a few minutes, I know you will have fun.” This allows your child to finish her turn and also places expectations for her to share.

More Information

cooking with your little ones

Don’t Be Scared to Cook with Your Kids

No matter your child’s age, you can include him in your kitchen time even if it just reading the recipe aloud and showing pictures when he is a baby. As they get older, it will get messier but also more satisfying. There are many reasons why you should start cooking with your children when they are young and teaching a life skill that everyone should be taught is only one of them. Here’s a few more...

Social-Emotional Development:

  • Hands-on cooking with mom or dad instills confidence and pride in their abilities within them.

  • Learning how to follow a recipe or mom’s instructions helps reinforce following directions as well as problem solving.

  • Letting them take the lead on a recipe fosters independence and self-direction.

  • Strengthens the bond between the child and the parent.

  • Teaches cooperation and sharing.


  • Math skills such as counting, fractions, measuring and sequencing are introduced.

  • Talking about where different foods are grown and why helps teach geography and science.

  • Cooking increases their vocabulary and understanding of the words.

  • Sharing stories about how food was eaten in the past, how it has changed and about how people eat it in different parts of the world teaches history and cultural lessons.


  • Preparing the food encourages them to become a more adventurous eater.

  • Helps them understand how to eat healthy by creating a well-balanced meal and portion control.

  • By cooking with seasonal vegetables and fruits, it teaches them where their food is grown and about farming.

Fine Motor Skills Development:

  • Give a child a whisk and let them go! Same with a spoon for stirring. Both helps to strengthen little hands.

  • Kneading bread is a great activity for the fingers and allover hands.

  • Teach them how to peel vegetables and fruits to increase range of motion and control.

More Information:

Staying safe while growing and learning

Take Precautions to Keep Your Child Safe as She Grows

Children are explorers by nature. As soon as they become mobile, they began to investigate their environment which means that they use all of their senses to better understand everything. They find a button on the floor, it goes directly into their mouth. For some reason, it makes perfect sense to them that little fingers are the perfect size to fit into electrical outlets. All of a sudden, their once safe space is a danger zone!

Check out the tips below to help lessen the risks around your home and your child care provider’s space.

Safety Tips:

  • Be sure to lock doors to any dangerous areas or exits.

  • Use safety gates on stairs and discourage climbing the gates if you see that beginning to happen.

  • Install window guards on windows above the first floor.

  • Since falls often happen around playground equipment, be sure that there is a soft surface for them to land on.

  • Tricycles, scooters and run bikes are popular at this age. Make a rule that helmets are worn from the start.

  • There should be a fence around your child care’s play area. Make sure that the gates are in good working condition and can be locked.

  • If you keep firearms in your house, make sure that the ammunition is locked separately from the gun.

  • Keep guns unloaded and in a safe, locked place.

  • Keep knives and other kitchen appliances out of reach of small hands.

  • Keep your child in a safe place when ironing or cooking. Check your stove to see if the outside gets hot to the touch.

  • Lock all cabinets and drawers that might be tempting to a child. House hold cleaners should be capped and stored in a secure cabinet. Keep all medicines safely out of reach.

  • Check that all electrical outlets have plates on them with no loose wires sticking out. Unused outlets should have safety caps on them.

  • Keep all appliances and their cords in good condition.

  • Make sure that fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors work and are checked monthly.

  • Be sure that there is not standing water outside in buckets or pools and never leave a child alone in the bathroom. It does not take much water for a child to drown.

  • Keep floors and counters clean of loose buttons, change and other small items that can wind up in a mouth . . . or a nose!

  • Cribs are up to date, haven’t been recalled and meet all safety precautions.

  • Heavy furniture is bolted into the wall so it will not topple over on a little person.

More information:


Is Bullying a Concern for Parents of Children Under Five Years Old?

Much research has been conducted around bullying among older children. When it comes to the very young, there is much less research and even more confusion as how to tell if it bullying or development of social skills.

It’s important to realize the true definition of bullying as well as that it can occur in a physical manner, as well as verbally and socially. As explained in an NAEYC article, bullying has three elements:

  • · It is an act that is aggressive and is intended to do harm.

  • · It is a series of acts that are repeated over time.

  • · The acts occur within the context of power imbalance.

When looking at younger children, research has shown that there is a big gender difference. Boys who bully have many friends while girls who do so are more socially isolated. Also, in contrast to older children who bully, children ages 2 – 5 may be a bully one day and then the bully-victim or victim later in the year.

Research has shown that aggression in areas such as the block table, the water table, and the playground are more common and in areas overall that are more open and less clearly defined.

The good news? As children grow older and develop better social skills and emotion and behavior regulation skills, bullying tends to decline.

Early Education and Child Care Providers and Parents Can Help:

  • Discuss and model positive behavior by offering the words and actions children need to make friends and interact with their peers.

  • Reinforce and celebrate good behavior by praising a child when he/she is “caught” in the act of being kind, sharing or helping a friend.

  • Set clear rules for behavior and step up quickly to stop or redirect aggressive behavior before it happens.

  • Provide constant reminders to young children about how you expect them to behave.

  • Tell stories and talk often about what kindness is, and how it is valued while reinforcing that aggression is not acceptable.

  • Encourage children to help repair hurt feelings or damage that is done. For instance, sincere apologies or helping to rebuild a knocked over block structure helps to correct the hurt.

  • When children use unkind words, help them understand how they can hurt other people. Work with them to suggest other ways and words to show their feelings and suggest appropriate actions and the use of non-aggressive words.

  • Teach children to alert a teacher when aggressive behavior happens.

More information: