Many parents are nervous about enrolling their kids in daycare, especially if they have children with special needs. If you're unsure whether full-time daycare is a good fit for your family, consider part-time child care at a reputable facility. Here are four reasons why part-time daycare can have a positive impact on your autistic child:
Social Interactions in a Structured Setting
Kids with autism need a combination of unstructured play and structured play to help strengthen their social skills. Your son or daughter may already engage in unstructured social interactions at home or during outings with peers, but it's often difficult for parents to provide a structured setting for socialization. Attending a childcare center gives your child a chance to practice abiding by rules and routines in a safe, loving environment.
Children with autism often love sensory play, and sensory-friendly activities are common at daycares. Your child may have the chance to play with a sensory bin, which is a container filled with items such as beans, small toys, and feathers. He or she may also get the chance to create shapes with dough or prepare a batch of homemade slime.
Look for a daycare center with multiple seating options, including bean bags and oversized pillows. These seats help kids with sensory issues thrive in a classroom-style environment.
Exposure to Other Kids on the Spectrum
Autism is a common condition that affects 1 out of every 68 kids, so there's a good chance that the daycare center you choose might have other kids who are on the spectrum. Teachers typically can't provide specific information about current daycare attendees due to HIPAA guidelines, but they can tell you if the daycare workers have experience with autistic children or if there are other kids with special needs at the facility.
A Break for You
Raising a special-needs child can be difficult at times, especially if your child's schedule includes numerous appointments with occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists. You deserve some time to focus on yourself, whether you pursue a hobby, volunteer at a local organization, or return to the workforce. Enrolling your autistic child in part-time daycare helps you become the best version of yourself by giving you time to focus on the things that you enjoy.
Deciding to enroll your child with autism in a part-time childcare facility is a major decision, and it's okay if you need time to think things over before you commit to enrollment. Talk to the daycare provider about any questions or concerns you have, and make sure to request a tour of the facility so that you can verify it's the right place for your child.
Contact a company like Cornerstone Daycare Learning Center for more information and assistance.