How to treat kids with special needs at preschool?

Recognition of a learning disability

While working with children as daycare owners, directors, teachers and other staff members you may notice certain unusual behaviors which can lead you to think "what is going on with this child?" Warning signs of unusual behaviors you had not seen earlier may occur in several ways showing that a child is having trouble psychically or mentally.

Here are some examples of warning signs that your child may be facing at preschool:

  • Delay in speaking
  • Trouble with handwriting
  • Reading backwards
  • Trouble learning the alphabet
  • Pronouncing words wrong
  • Difficulty learning math and spelling
  • Focusing problems and easily being distracted
  • Trouble with clothes, tying shoes, packing or carrying a backpack etc

What are some of the most common special needs disorders?

  • Down Syndrome
  • Autism
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Dyspraxia
  • Epilepsy
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyslexia

What are the steps that need to be taken?

Almost all licensed home daycares and child care centers are required to follow the rules of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) First teachers in accordance with the ADA, should carefully examine any unusual behavior and let the director/owner of the daycare be aware and take care of the situation. Thereafter the director must speak with the family of the child in need and be supportive of whatever is going on with the child until parents get professional care. Parents might sometimes show a lot of emotions and can react as if there is nothing wrong with their child.

Directors on the other hand need to take precautions and make changes at the daycare center if it is required by the Law because The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enforces child cares to prepare a setting suitable for needs of special kids. For example refusing to take care of the child, making the parents feel uncomfortable or scaring other children during such sensitive times would not be a good act of a daycare center operating under State regulations. So if needed daycare owners needs to get the right equipment, provide necessary medication, transportation, training for teachers and any other extra care then must do it efficiently.

What kind of environment should the children be taken care of? And what about other children at the daycare center?

First of all, children need to be in an environment where they do not feel left out and different than any healthy child attending preschool. Kids should no matter what disability they are diagnosed with or treatment they are going through must continue to be loved and cared just exactly the same way as the rest of the students in the classroom with of course the exception to extra care needed due to the treatment and sensitivity required for their care. Under ADA rules, all home daycares and privately owned child care centers (religious child care programs are not within the scope) are required to meet certain standards.

Also another important subject that arises when taking care of children with special needs is when they are in a place where they meet new friends. Sometimes they may feel uncomfortable during a contact while playing with other children for several reasons mainly because their disability can make them act shy and scared to communicate or participate. Teachers should help and encourage these children by providing opportunities like asking them to sit with more outgoing children, organizing group activities, supporting them in their class achievements and sharing their work with other student.

What if the director chooses not to care for the child with special needs, can refusing a child with special needs be an option?

Child cares, may only refuse to look after a child if it causes direct threat for other children enrolled at the daycare. Direct threat means that the child would cause such a serious harm to others health and safety that the child care program may choose not to enroll the child for these reasons. Yet again this is a decision that needs to be taken based on an assessment according to the United States Dept. of Justice Civil Rights division. Even if a licensed daycare is legally operating under ADA rules, the child with special needs might still not be getting enough care that he or she needs. What happens then? Well parents during the process of searching for a place for their child should carefully seek for the most convenient center they believe their child will fit into while doing so they can also take their child there and see him in the new environment for better understanding his or her needs.