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Choosing childcare for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

When it comes to childcare for a disabled child, a lot of the considerations are the same as for any other child. If your child has Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) you may find you have more questions about how your child's needs can be met including what specific training has the childcare provider undertaken and your child's medical needs. Try and give yourself enough time to visit several possible options in your area to get a good idea of what could suit your child. It can be a good idea to take your child with you to see how staff work with them.

If your child has SEND, speak to your provider who may be able to access some additional funding to support your child in their Early Years setting.

Parent's and childcare provider's experiences

To help you learn of other people's experiences, we have gathered the experiences and view points of parents who have chosen childcare for their disabled child, and of provider's who provide childcare to children with SEND.

Read how 2 families accessed childcare for their children at 2 different settings in a parent's story.

Find out what does a childcare provider do to support disabled children and how do they work together with you and your family in a provider's view.

Top 10 questions

Here are some suggested questions around SEND to ask when you visit. Add your own questions as well:

  1. does the provider have a SENCO in place?
  2. does the provider ensure that they attend regular training to update and refresh their skills and knowledge?
  3. how long have you been working with children? What experience do they have of supporting children with additional needs?
  4. are they trained to give medication or use specific equipment?
  5. where will my child rest?
  6. what kind of food and drink will you give? Can you support my child’s dietary needs?
  7. how would they approach your child’s disability with other children/parents?
  8. will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they?
  9. how will they communicate with you about your child’s progress and needs?
  10. what will be put in place to support the child's transition?

Coram Family and Childcare Trust guide

Coram Family and Childcare Trust have created a helpful guide to childcare for children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities in England. The guide provides information on your childcare options; tips on choosing childcare; detailed information on the Education, Health and Care assessments and plans and the financial support available for parents of children with SEND.

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