Finding quality child care is important to all parents, but this task can be especially difficult for parents with autistic children. Authorities estimate that autism costs families an average of $60,000 per year, and a portion of these costs are associated with day care services. If you are looking for a day care for your own autistic child, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.
Look for the following 3 characteristics to ensure a day care facility is equipped to meet your child's unique needs.
1. An Environment Free From Sensory Overload
Many children who suffer from autism also have sensory processing disorders. This means that they have difficulty processing texture, light, noise, or touch. When evaluating day care facilities, it is essential that you examine the environment if your child has sensory processing difficulties.
The day care facility you choose should offer quiet spaces where your child can escape the noise created by the other children. Opting for a facility with rooms where the lights can be dimmed will also help your autistic child better cope with life in a day care center.
2. Staff Trained To Help Provide Therapy For Your Child
Studies show that children who suffer from autism can benefit from the daily therapy provided by occupational therapists. Searching for a day care facility that offers access to a therapist trained to handle cases of autism will ensure that your child receives the best care possible.
These therapists can use play time to help your child learn coping skills that will benefit them in their daily lives. As you look for a day care facility, be sure that you are asking questions about the therapeutic activities available to your child.
3. A Structured Schedule
Children with autism thrive when they have structure in their lives. When you search for a day care facility, you should be mindful of the schedules kept by these facilities. Look for centers that provide a consistent schedule of activities. This will help your child feel more at ease when spending time away from home.
It is also important to ask about the reward structure each day care center provides. Autistic children respond well to positive reinforcement, so staff members should consistently look for good behavior. This behavior should be rewarded with praise. Having a consistent schedule and reward system will help your child cope with the challenges of day care.
Finding a day care facility for your autistic child might seem like a difficult task, but if you take the time to look for a facility that offers an environment free from sensory overload, staff members trained to help your child overcome the challenges associated with autism, and a structured schedule you will be on your way to providing quality care for your child in the future.
If you want to know more, contact a company like The Joy of Learning Center.