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Childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities

Two boys playing with toys

All children are entitled to be included and supported in childcare and all parents / carers should be able to find suitable childcare to meet their child's needs.  Childcare providers are required by law to make reasonable adjustments for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Choosing the right childcare

When it comes to choosing a childcare provider, remember to consider what will best meet the needs of you and your child.  It might be that a combination of different types of childcare is more suitable, such as three mornings at a pre-school group and two days with a childminder.

Once you've checked Herefordshire Council's childcare directory, which lists the available childcare providers across the county, and got a short list of providers you're interested in, make sure you visit them at least twice.  You should visit once without your child, as this will give you the opportunity to ask lots of questions, and again with your child, to see if they're happy with it and it meets their individual needs.

Additional support and funding for your childcare provider

The provider you choose may require additional support to enable them to meet your child's needs, including advice from Herefordshire Council's specialist Early Years Team.  The team can support your childcare provider to ensure they offer appropriate activities and that your child is making progress.  Childcare providers can also work with other professionals, who may already be supporting your child, such as physiotherapists, portage workers and speech and language therapists.

They may also need additional funding in order to provide resources, training, equipment or extra staff.  Have a chat with your childcare provider to find out more about what might be needed.

Questions to ask

There's a number of different questions you may want to ask your chosen childcare provider, to ensure they can meet the needs of you and your child, including:

  • What qualifications, expertise and experience do staff have in relation to special educational needs or disabilities?

  • Do staff know where to access specialist advice and support around additional funding?

  • Does the provider welcome input from other professionals, who may already be working with your child, such as your physiotherapist?

  • What age range do they care for?

  • What's the ratio of adults to children?

  • What type of activities are available and are they accessible for your child, such as the height of sand and water trays?

  • What's the indoor and outdoor space like and is it accessible?

  • How accessible are the toilets and changing areas?

  • What's the provider's approach to managing children's behaviour?

  • How will you share information about your child's needs, including how they communicate and feeding or medical issues?

  • Is the provider willing to release staff to attend review meetings for your child?

Remember: Not every childcare provider will necessarily match the needs of you and your child, which is why it's so important to have a short list of different providers to consider and visit.

Additional information

Take a look at the Childcare for Families with Disabled Children booklet or visit the Coram Family and Childcare website.