As a parent, finding the best child care provider for your child is always going to be a trying process. However, when you have a child who is autistic, finding child care can become an all-out nightmare. Because autistic children have specific care needs that may be completely different from another child (even one who is also autistic), it can be extremely difficult to track down the right person for the job. Here are three tips to keep in mind that may help you find the best child care for your child who has autism.
1. If you are going with traditional daycare for your autistic child, make sure the facility is qualified.
Not every daycare facility is capable of handling children with autism. Some facilities simply do not have employees that hold the proper training. If you are considering a specific daycare facility, take the time to do an interview at the daycare to get to know the employees and setting. No one is more familiar with your child's degree of autism and what they can withstand emotionally than you. Therefore, take a tour of the facility and ask a lot of questions about qualifications. You will want to know:
- How much experience the facility has with autistic children
- How many other autistic children they have cared for in the past or currently have in attendance
- If the facility is equipped to handle the specific needs of your child
2. Be careful with in-home providers of group daycare for your autistic child.
While a home setting can be good for a child with autism, an in-home daycare that does not provide a lot of structure may not be the best option. Children with autism do need the social learning experience to get prepared for school, but in many cases, autistic children will feel overwhelmed by too much interaction with other children. The only way you should consider an in-home setting for your child's daycare is if the individual in charge actually specializes in caring for autistic children, which will mean they have several quiet spaces available and several extra hands available to help out.
3. Make sure any provider you consider has a good understanding of your child's needs.
Having an autistic child means that you have spent a fair amount of time determining the needs of your little one. You know what physical stimulation they can handle and what to avoid. You understand their meltdowns and triggers. To ensure the daycare facility will work out for your child, it is crucial that you give a caregiver a good understanding of your child's needs.