Making the Unfamiliar Familiar: Children with Disabilities in Child Care Settings


By Christie Timms
Maryland Learning Links

When child care providers have difficulties with children who have disabilities, it’s often a case of the provider simply never having worked with a child with a disability. Typically developing children are, of course, individuals – each their own flavor – but their profiles tend to fit into a range with which most providers are familiar. In the case of children with disabilities, a provider may be entirely unfamiliar with how to work with the child. There is usually a solution to this problem: Make the unfamiliar familiar. Here’s a scenario…

Joey is 4 years old and has autism. His parents have enrolled him in three different child care programs, but none of them has worked out. Finally, they decide to enroll him at Lucille’s program. She hasn’t worked with children with disabilities, but she comes highly recommended.

Before the first day, Lucille does some reading about autism and has two conversations with Joey’s parents. When the first day comes,

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