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Old 04-25-2014, 10:14 AM
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Default Special Needs Kids

I was wondering if any of you work with special needs kids. If so, can you give any advise on working with them? I have been a licensed daycare provider for almost 30 years. I saw on the news that there has been a very noticeable rise in autistic children in the past 20 years.

Over the years, I have gotten more and more special needs kids and I am all but at my wits end trying to work with them and incorporate them in my program. I offer a preschool educational program and (used to) take a lot of pride in the fact that I did so much with the kids and taught them so much. But lately, because of having so many special needs kids, my entire day is disrupted constantly by the special needs kids flipping out, screaming, running around like crazy, etc. that I can't teach the kids much of anything! I'm too busy trying to get the special needs kids to stop flipping out over the fact that (for example) I told them to come sit down so I can read a book. To give you a visual, I will say, "Okay guys, come on over and sit down here (pointing to the floor in front of my chair) so we can have story time. All the non-special needs kids (6 kids) will walk over and sit down. The one special need child will start screaming at the top of his lungs and throw himself on the floor wherever he is and rub his hands constantly over his head. The other special needs kid will stand there across the room like he doesn't understand the words "come sit down" and I will tell him over and over a couple of times, " come here Johnny" Johnny, come over here and sit with the children" (keep in mind that the other child is screaming and frantically rubbing his head across the room). Then I will walk to the child just standing there and try to take him by the hand to walk him to story time. He will then rip his hand out of mine, throw himself down, and kick the floor over and over while yelling as if he's mentally worn out. Meanwhile, the non-special needs kids are waiting patiently for the story. Then I give up on the special needs kids and go read to the other children (while the special needs kids scream like crazy, kick the floor and rub their head!) Eventually, the special needs kids stop flipping out and proceed to go play with toys! If I tell them not to play, of course they flip out again. If I let them go play, then the non-special needs kids do not pay attention to the story (or any other educational activity we are supposed to be doing) and start fidgeting, fussing, looking at the special needs kids playing and pay more attention to them playing then to what I am trying to teach them, so I give up teaching and tell them to just go play.

I just feel more like I'm running an insane asylum more than a structured educational preschool and I don't know what to do.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:55 AM
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cheerfuldom cheerfuldom is offline
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Wow that sounds really bad. You have to be honest with yourself and with the parents if you are seeing behaviors outside of what you can manage alone. If you have no training in specifics for special needs kids, then you really shouldnt even be offering the service. You aren't doing these kids any favors by keeping them when they really need to be somewhere prepared and educated for their demanding care. I would be honest with both families and let them know that you are finding the children's behaviors to be more than you can manage. I assume you are licensed so you may have to check all regulations to make sure you are terming appropriately as well. I do care for special needs kids but only if their needs and behaviors are manageable within my current program setup. These other parents are not paying good money for their children to be constantly be waiting around while one or two special needs kids take over the whole program.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:06 AM
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That's not so much an issue with kids who have special needs in general as it is an issue with Johnny (the head rubber) and Paul (the kicker). A lot of special needs kids will have similar issues/behaviors, and a lot of them won't.

I would talk to mom and dad about it, honestly. (How do they manage it at home, etc.) Your place may not be the best place for them.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheerfuldom View Post
Wow that sounds really bad. You have to be honest with yourself and with the parents if you are seeing behaviors outside of what you can manage alone. If you have no training in specifics for special needs kids, then you really shouldnt even be offering the service. You aren't doing these kids any favors by keeping them when they really need to be somewhere prepared and educated for their demanding care. I would be honest with both families and let them know that you are finding the children's behaviors to be more than you can manage. I assume you are licensed so you may have to check all regulations to make sure you are terming appropriately as well. I do care for special needs kids but only if their needs and behaviors are manageable within my current program setup. These other parents are not paying good money for their children to be constantly be waiting around while one or two special needs kids take over the whole program.
Yes, this! See what mom and dad have to say. You may have to drop these two kids and fill those spots with two "typical" kids.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:12 AM
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Default special needs kids

That's part of the problem. I can't refuse to watch them or it's discrimination. We are required to allow 'inclusion' of the special needs kids as long as we don't have to make major changes.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
That's part of the problem. I can't refuse to watch them or it's discrimination. We are required to allow 'inclusion' of the special needs kids as long as we don't have to make major changes.
If your program can't safely accomodate them you can refuse care. You can't refuse simply because of a diagnosis. But that doesn't mean y have to take a child or family that just isn't a good fit for yur program or that you can't provide adequate care for.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
That's part of the problem. I can't refuse to watch them or it's discrimination. We are required to allow 'inclusion' of the special needs kids as long as we don't have to make major changes.
When I opened my program years ago, my license person helped me write up in my contract that my program offered services for special needs, however if an extra caregiver is required for one-on-one services, this would not be feasible placing monetary hardships on my program. You might check into that because it appears some of the special needs children mentioned do need one-on-one services. Best of luck!
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Cradle2crayons View Post
If your program can't safely accomodate them you can refuse care. You can't refuse simply because of a diagnosis. But that doesn't mean y have to take a child or family that just isn't a good fit for yur program or that you can't provide adequate care for.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:20 AM
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Sounds to me like it IS requiring you to make major changes.

I second what Cradle and Annalee said.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:21 AM
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Let the parents know that you can continue to provide care if the parents are able to pay for the increase in rate that comes from hiring an assistant. quote high. 99% of parents will term themselves and not want to pay for the increase that comes with specialized care. there has to be some loop hole in your regulations. you cant be force to care for kids when you are not managing your group well with these others included and when you frankly, dont have the tools or support to care for the high needs of their cases. keep looking for a loophole
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:25 AM
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I've had quite a few special needs children over the years. I find that it works for me when it's only one child in my group of typical kids. I can't quite imagine handling two special needs children by myself, though to some extent it depends upon their needs.
Can you help the family find resources that will better suit their needs? You wouldn't be refusing care. You'd be finding care that is more helpful for their child.
Also, if you can't afford to hire an assistant (who would need training/experience to help with this child) wouldn't that qualify as a 'hardship' for you, so that if it came to that, you could terminate.

I would go with helping them find resources first though. We go through the school system, and it's all free, and easy to access, and friendly to providers, parents and kids. Most parents are happy to find care that better meets their child's needs.

And don't forget to "redefine failure"! You would not be failing this child or this family. You would be helping them.

Last edited by SignMeUp; 04-25-2014 at 11:27 AM. Reason: added last sentence
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:42 AM
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I have a son with Autism and have had an autistic child in my b&as dayhome for the last 2 years. I have given the family their termination notice, because you are right, it is extremely difficult to run a program with a lower functioning, autistic child. I can't go for walks without screaming or him running off, can't play with kids in the backyard because he won't go and not to mention his behavior when he is told no. Pretty much every moment is spent watching this one child. Even on good days, if I take my eyes off him for a minute he is ruining something by putting it in his mouth (he is 11). He has caused a LOT of expensive damages to my home and now that I am expanding to taking care of little ones, enough is enough. The money isn't worth it. I know it sucks, because you want to help a family who really needs it, but you gotta look out for number one.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:32 PM
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Well, today was absolutely crazy with the one special needs child. Which is what made me post this thread. So, I have decided that he truly disrupts every aspect of the daycare day. And like DuchessRavenWaves said, having him here does require me to make major changes. Instead of being a professional daycare provider providing a good quality, educational environment, I have become a babysitter with a chaotic environment. The majority of the children are suffering because of one uncontrollable child. Yes I have 2 children with special needs, but the one child is 100% more disrupting than the other. So I just placed an ad to try to replace him. I am a single mother, so I can't afford to just stop watching him without replacing him. I did tell his father at pick up time today how he behaved ( I am always honest with the parents about his behavior). So, when I do give them notice that I have to stop watching him, they should not be shocked.

I also think that from now on, I will be more selective with the children that I enroll in my childcare. I don't want anyone to say that I am discriminating, but I need to be honest and say that it's not a good fit. It is just me here. I don't have a helper to tend to a disruptive child while I continue teaching the others. And I don't have an office or another classroom that I can send the disruptive child to like they do in daycare centers. I really do have to have children that can join in the group and are able and willing to follow the daily routine here.

Thank you guys for helping me with this.
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Old 04-25-2014, 02:33 PM
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Well, as someone who has taken classes on children with special needs and has done service learning in a special ed class; there isn't a "one size fits all" approach because special needs is such a broad term that can cover multiple conditions (can range from learning disability to cerebral palsy).

And honestly, not everyone feels comfortable caring for special needs children or has a passion for it; I personally tend to prefer SN children to "typical" children sometimes. You just have to be careful about excluding special needs children. As mentioned on other threads on this board multiple times recently, it can be considered discrimination if you don't follow the proper protocol according to the ADA. Usually you have to prove that you would either have to make unreasonable accommodations such as construction on the house specifically to meet the needs of that child or having to higher an additional assistant just to watch the child; or prove that caring for this child would affect your ability to safely care for the other children in your program.
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Old 04-27-2014, 04:42 PM
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Before opening my daycare, I was a behavioral interventionist for autistic children in their homes. I can tell you it IS challenging, even with just one special needs child getting one on one care. I personally feel that if you have not been trained in children with these broad spectrums of behaviors then you should not accept them. Autistic children can not always properly communicate their feelings, needs, or desires in an appropriate manner and can react in ways a 2yr old would throwing a tantrum. As difficult as it is for an adult to bear, it's even more difficult for them to be what I consider "stuck inside themselves." If they could relay properly I do believe they would. Special needs kids have such a special place in my heart so forgive me if I sound a little over protective. They need care from someone who knows not only the broad spectrums of special needs but has been trained in different ways to properly deal with these behaviors.

On a another note, if the children are disruptive to your daily routine and you can not provide them with a safe environment or they are making the environment unsafe for other children, you may terminate them. I would give the parents a few weeks notice at least. I don't blame you one bit for being frustrated and at the end of your rope. I would be too. I've been there.
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