Child Care

You will at some point need child care. Perhaps you work outside of your home or are a student. Perhaps you just need someone to watch your child so you can get the groceries or to be available in case of an emergency that calls you away.

Types of Child Care

Providing child care for the child with special needs involves more than finding a dependable person or place that charges reasonable rates. You will need to make sure the unique requirements of your child can be met. You must make sure that the therapists who work with your child have access to your child when she is not at home. You will need to coordinate with those therapists for ways you can keep up on the skills your child should practice.

It may seem overwhelming to set up childcare for the child with special needs. There are options to make it more workable:

  • Consider child care provided by a relative, family friend, or nanny who can come into your home.

  • Check into day cares that will include your child with children who do not have special needs.

  • Check with local agencies and your parent-infant educator for specialized day care programs in your area.

Most children with special needs will enter an early childhood education program in a school setting at age three. Besides providing important instruction and therapy, this time can be used by parents for work, errands, and fulfilling responsibilities to other family members.


A child who is developmentally delayed may do things that seem defiant or purposefully troublesome, when it is actually a reflection of his disability. The severely autistic child who likes to bang pots and pans, for example, may empty a cupboard without close supervision. Talk to your child care provider about the behaviors and communication needs of your child.

Info for Child Care Providers

It is critical that your child care providers (even a relative or the teenager from down the street) have adequate information to care for your child. They don't have to know every detail of your child's history, much of which may be personal. But they do need to know about communication and medical details to keep your child safe. Following is a basic checklist of important information to give all your child care providers:


  • Phone numbers for both parents
  • Doctor's phone number
  • Phone number for relative who is familiar with the needs, preferences of the child
  • Emergency numbers: ambulance, fire, police
  • Medication information (including times and amounts)
  • Allergies (if applicable)
  • Child's routine (meals, bedtime)
  • Food preferences
  • Child's communication
  • Rules and appropriate consequences
  • Calming techniques

Create this checklist in a form that you can use over and over. Check the information periodically and revise as needed.

At home, make sure your child care provider is aware that the checklist is near a phone. This is an especially good reminder for frequent providers who may be comfortable with your child and forget that there are important instructions in case of an emergency.

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