Choosing a daycare program is tough enough for neurotypical children. Adding autism to the equation can make the process seem like scaling a mountain.
So, what can you do to make the process easier? Where should you start looking? Let’s take a look at some great ways to help select a daycare program for children with autism.
Where do you Need Care?
Many ASD service providers offer in-home and clinical services–knowing which service you need can help narrow down your search before it even begins.
In-clinic autism services, including daycare, are great options for children who can adapt to changes in routine with some help. Children less affected by sensory stimuli are more likely to benefit from in-clinic daycare services.
At-home autism services are best utilized by those with special needs. Some clinics may not be set up to handle the specific needs of a child. Children that have many special needs (foods, toys, scenery, etc) and/or extreme difficulties with changes to routines may be more suited for in-home daycare.
Typical daycare programs may be an option for children with autism. There are things to look for specifically before enrolling a child with autism in a traditional daycare program:
- Staff experience with autism
- Individualized activities for children
- Taking special requests (if you provide toys, activities, snacks, etc)
Talk to the Staff
Talking to the staff and caregivers about your child’s needs and what their daycare programs offer is a great way to find out if a program will be a good fit. While websites often list services, features, and more, it is not a substitute for actually talking to someone.
A great thing to remember is to be sure to make a list of questions ready for anyone you talk to. A great list will include any special needs your child has or worries you have. Getting the answers you need is one of the keys to finding a great daycare program for your child.
After you find a care provider that can take care of your child’s needs, be sure to ask questions about the staff. Things like:
- Staff experience (especially with any special needs your child has)
- Staff licensure
- Communication policies (reports and calls with parents/families)
- Goal setting (both in-clinic and at home)
Make sure to get satisfactory answers to these questions from any care provider you talk to–the care of your child will be handled by them!
Knowing how your child is doing is very important when it comes to children with autism & school/care programs. Most autism service providers will have daily or weekly reports on your child’s behavior and progress. Making sure the information you need is on daycare reports is an important part of a great daycare program’s job.
Continuing care from clinic to home (or from in-home clinician to parent) is a huge part of helping children with autism develop. Great reporting from a daycare provider leads to great communication between the parents, the daycare provider, and the child.
ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants
If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.