Inclusion Of Children With Disabilities in Child Care Programs
The challenge of inclusion in child care and other early childhood programs is to provide developmentally appropriate experiences for young children—both with and without disabilities—in nurturing, enriching, and enjoyable environments. Inclusion means more than simply placing children with disabilities in existing programs; it means making every-day-little-kid experiences meaningful. Inclusion recognizes that all children:
- Are unique individuals
- Have similarities as well as differences
- Have strengths and needs
- Are important members of the group
To offer these quality experiences, child care providers are called upon to make modifications in their programs. Most of these modifications are subtle or small, but they can have significant impact on the children. In order to make these changes, it is necessary to combine the strengths of early childhood professionals—especially their willingness to care for young children with disabilities—with the resources of families and early intervention and special education systems. This approach preserves the value, benefits, and integrity of existing early childhood programs while providing the extra information a provider needs in order to meet the individual challenges a child with disabilities may present. For more information, contact Leann Worden at (406) 329-1321.