Most moms, including myself, would like to have the ability to be in more than one place at the same time and be everything to our kids. Those of us with a child with special needs wish it more. We know better than anyone else how to care for our baby and read their needs. Just the thought of leaving them under somebody else's care can be painful, but I've learned that it's not only important, but very beneficial for our little one. However, it's important to be extra careful.
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I searched a lot before I entrusted my boy to strangers for the first time. Here is a list of questions that I found that helped me a lot.
1. Are you comfortable discussing your child's special needs and individual likes and dislikes with the caregiver?
2. Is the caregiver warm and welcoming to each child?
3. Does she listen to each child when they have an idea to share or need help?
4. Are children encouraged to help each other?
5. Are all children included in group activities?
6. Will the caregiver communicate with you and work closely with you to ensure your child is doing well each day?
7. Does the program offer predictable routines, group activities and free time?
8. Has the program partnered with other agencies to meet a child's individual needs? Has this worked well?
9. Are all areas of the program accessible to your child?
10. Is the caregiver willing to be flexible with her expectations and routine in ways that will help your child?
11. Will the group size work for your child? Your child's needs may be more easily met in a smaller group for part or all of the day.
12. Does the child care provider have experience working with children with special needs?
13. Has she taken or is she willing to take training in the area of special needs?
14. Does your caregiver understand your child's feelings about change and transition?
15. Does she have a plan in place to manage any challenging behavior during this time and to help your child become more comfortable?
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Do you have another suggestion?