If you are a parent, finding suitable childcare for your child can seem like a daunting task.
This task can seem even more difficult if you have a disabled child, as meeting your child's specific requirements might seem complicated and overwhelming. However, help is at hand! Registered childminders are often well placed to care for disabled children. They can often offer a degree of flexibility with hours, with many childminders providing care for children whose parents work outside normal office working day. In addition, the smaller nature of a home setting can mean that childminders are well placed to meet a child's specific requirements, with a greater degree of one-to-one care while including all the children in play activities.
Some registered childminders are part of specialist quality assured childminding networks that concentrate on offering inclusive services for families with disabled children. Childminders can access training through this network to meet the needs of the individual child. Others access training on their own, through their local authority so that they are able to better understand how to include all children in their setting, including disabled children. Below are some examples where registered childminders are providing childcare for families with disabled children.
Phyllis from Liverpool
A childminder from Liverpool, Phyllis, works with her local Children's Centre to provide care for a child with learning difficulties. She also works with her local Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), to ensure that the child gets the best care possible.
Phyllis said: "I am part of both Liverpool's Everton and Stoneycroft Children's Centres as a quality assured childminder, and have attended training with parents for children's behaviour, provided by the Family Link Worker at Stoneycroft Children's Centre. I accessed staff training days at times when a special speaker has attended at Everton Children's Centre and received help and support for a child with speech difficulties from the SENCO at Everton Children's Centre and I use the toy library."
Phyllis regularly offers the children in her care the opportunity to mix with other children at fun days both at the centre or on trips out, including a visit to a mobile farm, the library for storytime or rhyme time at the children's centres' childminder and parent stay and play. Phyllis also takes advantage of the school age fun days and activities during school holidays at Everton Children's Centre and uses the sensory room, particularly when she cared for triplets who all had cerebral palsy, but she feels all the children love using this space.
Lynn from Blackpool Lynn has recently been childminding a boy who is four years old and has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Kieran's mum is a young,
single parent with two children and she benefits greatly from the respite support Lynn is providing. He was referred through the Children with Disabilities team.
Lynn is committed to the needs of the children and supports inclusion. She works with the Early Years Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, Portage and also links with various other professionals that are connected in some way with the little boy's family. She always goes the extra mile with all her families and when she knew that it would be a struggle for mum to walk to Lynn's house with both her children, Lynn gladly offered to pick him up and drop him off.
Amanda, Kieran's mum said "Kieran is a lot happier since Lynn has been looking after him. Lynn writes down in his diary what he has been doing throughout the day and Kieran is eager to show me his new skills, for example, putting wooden bricks into tubs. I had a lovely surprise for Mothers Day as Kieran, while he was at Lynn's, had planted two daffodils in a pot that he had painted. Kieran knows as soon as the doorbell rings on Tuesday morning that Lynn is at the door and he gets so excited. His face lights up and he has a big smile when he sees Lynn."
Working with others to provide your child with best possible care
Registered childminders are able to work with many different agencies and childcare facilities to offer children and families the best choice of care. Disabled children often benefit from a greater degree of one to one support that a registered childminder can provide, but also mixed with group care via drop-in groups at local children's centres. Registered childminders and the children they care for can benefit from support from health practitioners and therapeutic play opportunities such as sensory rooms to enhance the opportunities for development.
If you are thinking about using a registered childminder, why not visit Pacey formerly known as the National Childminding Association.