By Catherine Gélinas
As an educator, we want the children in our daycare to be happy, to develop positively and to be able to receive all the necessary tools to continue their journey. Over time, we welcome several children with their personality as well as their needs. It may happen that in we group we have a child with special needs so I thought I would bring out the important points to think about when we have a child with special needs in we group.
Observation is our best tool
Observation is a simple and effective method for evaluating the development of a child and his needs through his day-to-day day care. It also allows us to monitor our interventions, the solutions used, meetings and deadlines. What I find useful is having an observation book for each child where I write down all the relevant information every day. If I work in collaboration with other, this notebook becomes a tool for sharing and allows we to explore other interventions or quite simply to notice similar or same observations between professionals.
Quiet corner and objects
In order to allow the child to take a neurological break during his day, it is interesting to set up a resting area in your day care service. A corner where the child likes to meet up and take a few minutes’ break. A bin with sensory objects gives the child the opportunity to channel the intensity of his emotions through the object like a ball. You can also put things the child likes, such as legos or drawings. The child will be motivated to take a break on his own in and come back to the group afterwards.
If one of your children blows up and the situation turns into a crisis, suggest that they go to the quiet corner. Right now, there is no need to try to talk to him about what he has done or might do, but to lessen his anger. When the child is calm and receptive, it is important to come back with him by helping find the strategy he can use the next time and to accompany him in making a restorative gesture. Example: he threw all the blocks everywhere, he will have to pick them up and put them in the right place. Remember to go at his own pace, as some children may not be able to apologize verbally so a hand on the shoulder can serve as an excuse.
Routines and pictograms
As you know routines are essential in our daily life, but for a child with special needs, this tool is even more precious. Through to the routines, the child feels reassured to know what will happen in his day and to be able to foresee the moments of transition which are sometimes more difficult. They provide consistency and an opportunity to involve the child in the next task when he can see it visually.
Contact with the child
During an exchange if the educator is at the child’s level, if she uses short / clear sentences as well as a positive attitude, the child will be receptive to the intervention. You don’t necessarily have to get the child’s gaze to listen to you. Some children show the need to hold an object in their hand without eye contact to understand the exchange or the instruction. You just need to adjust to the needs, personality and pace of the child. Sometimes the goal we have in mind will take longer to achieve, but with small steps and with encouragement he will succeed. As with all children, positive reinforcement and daily support allows children to thrive while learning😊
A good collaboration
In order to get the best out of our interventions, to be able to create a relationship of trust and to know the interests of these children, we need good collaboration with all those around him. In our field, as you know it, is worth gold!
So here are some important tips to consider when welcoming a child with special needs for the first time in we group. I am aware that we could write several pages on the subject and discuss the solutions that work for each educator because there are several. This is the beauty of our job, we are passionate and we take the development of children and their successes to heart.