Every child develops along their own path. For children with a developmental disability, formal childcare and preschool can be a good way for parents to get some respite and a chance to pursue other aspects of their life including work. Quality childcare can be a boon for any child and can help them reach their full potential.
Here are some steps to follow as you search for a preschool to suit your child.
Look for a childcare with a varied focus
If your child has some physical or cognitive disabilities, it can be ideal to a have a daycare that doesn't focus on academic or sporting prowess. Arts and crafts, music and gardening can be enjoyed by children of all abilities. Look for a program that has a play based focus and that supports children to enjoy and succeed in their own areas of interest without pushing them to reach arbitrary milestones that they may not be ready now, or ever, to reach.
Look for a childcare that allows individual programs
You need to have a childcare that allows children to develop at their own pace. If your child's disability requires extra focus, they may need a dedicated carer to help them with certain activities such as eating and toileting. Ask the childcare if they can provide some examples of previous individualised programs for children with delays and disabilities, with names removed, so that you can see their approach in providing appropriate support and goal setting to allow kids to learn in a supportive environment.
Find a supportive environment
Children can be quick to notice differences in their peers, but with appropriate guidance, they can learn to embrace the differences between each other. A great preschool program recognises differences but makes sure to emphasise everyone's strengths and helps the groups the come together. These peer relationships can be a great gift for developmentally disabled children, allowing them to enjoy company of similarly aged children and share activities where possible. This can help all the children in the program to find ways to connect with different people and can encourage them to develop in other ways, including developing more empathy and understanding.
A great childcare can be a way to encourage your child with developmental disabilities to make beautiful relationships with carers and peers whilst they reach the best of their abilities in skills. Happy and supportive play based environments are a fantastic way to make sure that preschool is an enriching experience for your child.