If you have a child with special needs, you might feel a little apprehensive about sending them along to a before and after school care service. During school time you know your child’s needs are catered for, but what happens after the bell rings?
While you know best what your child’s individual needs are, most before and after school care programs are equipped to welcome your child into their program.
Feel confident about your choice in OSHC by asking the following questions:
Will someone help my child get to after school care?
If your child needs some assistance to get to the after school care room, who will help them? Your OSHC should have staff available to assist your child if they need it so you don’t have to worry about them finding their own way there.
If you’ll be utilising the before school care service, you might also want to ask if someone can help your child get to their classroom in the morning too.
How will the program cater for my child?
Check the program of activities and see if your child will be able to join in with them. If they won’t be able to, what changes can the OSHC make to cater for them? You don’t want your child sitting on the sidelines every day while the other kids are having fun. Activities should be inclusive of children of all ages and abilities, with no chance for your child to feel singled out or forgotten.
What is the service’s inclusion policy?
Every OSHC should have one. Ask to view it and see how it fits in with your own personal beliefs. The service should be willing to work collaboratively with families and professionals to develop inclusions plans based on your child’s needs and interests.
You’ll also want to ensure there are provisions for any individual adaptive equipment which may be required, along with specific behaviour guidance plans, individual routines, support and program strategies and additional training for educators who will work directly with your child.
How will the OSHC communicate with my family?
Will you need to relay information to the service on a regular basis? Need to know how your child is doing? Ask the service how they will keep clear and open communication lines with your family, so you can ensure your child is safe and happy. Having a meeting before your child starts is a great way to set out the guidelines for your ongoing relationship.
With a little planning, your special needs child can enjoy all the benefits of before and after school care. Ask questions and follow up to make sure your child’s needs are being catered for.