Having a child with special needs, specifically something like autism, can make finding a child care centre difficult. There are some centres that have guidelines for enrollment, such as requiring that they are potty trained, which your child may not have achieved yet. Some centres may also have limited slots for special needs or may not work with children with autism. If you are struggling to find the right option for your child and your family, here are a few key points to finding the right centre for you.
The first thing you want to do is ensure they centre has autism services. Keep in mind, some centres will enroll children who have special needs and who have autism. This does not mean that they have specific services that will fit your child's needs. You want to make sure that the centre has specific services, such as sensory assistance or occupational therapy. You also want to make sure they have teachers that are skilled and educated on how to deal with children on the spectrum, teach coping skills, and handle related issues that autistic children may have.
One of the leading issues that many parents of autistic children face is the lack of security and safety for their children. You need to check with the centre and ensure that they have safety measures in place for your child. For example, many children on the spectrum have listening issues and may run when they feel overwhelmed. If there are not proper safety precautions in place, the child could get away from a teacher and run out of the centre and into traffic or become lost.
Your child may be diagnosed with autism, but you may not know exactly where they fall on the spectrum. You may also find that their level changes as time goes on. This means you will need an increasing number of tests done on a routine basis. These spectrum-based tests can give you more insight into your child's learning and into their needs. A centre that offers this service on-site can help prevent you having to make multiple trips to professionals and help the centre to better assess the needs of your child and put them in the right classes and services.
These are just a few of the key points to finding the right day care centre for your autistic child. If you are ready to start looking, start with a list of your ideal services. Begin checking off the services list you have, and start narrowing down the list from there.