When your child has special needs, finding the right daycare is just as important as finding the right doctor or counselor. Daycare can be a safe and positive place for children to grow while allowing you the time you need to work, care for yourself, and tend your home. However, you need to ensure any special needs your child has will be appropriately met. Not all daycares are equipped to deal with children with abilities.
Special Needs Child Daycare in Little Rock
Integrity Inc. offers a wide range of services for their clients with developmental and intellectual disabilities, including Early Intervention Day Treatment (EIDT) daycare. EIDT daycare is a daycare specially equipped with the personnel and equipment needed to care for and treat children with special needs. This includes socialization time, occupational therapy, motor skills activities, speech therapy, and up to five hours of habilitation programming each day.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a therapy for the injured or disabled conducted through the therapeutic use of daily activities (or “occupations”). Occupational therapy is a holistic practice focused on adapting the environment or task to fit the person instead of the other way around.
The person is an integral part of the therapy team and all exercises are formulated to fit their unique needs and goals. Occupational therapy is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.
Occupational therapy services typically include an individualized evaluation to determine your goals, customized intervention to improve your ability to perform everyday activities, and an outcome evaluation to ensure those goals are being met and any necessary changes can be made.
Before you Google “occupational therapy schools near me”, make sure you understand the benefits of a daycare that also includes speech therapy, physical therapy, motor skill activities, and habilitation programming — not just occupational therapy.
Five Benefits of an EIDT Daycare
When a child has a disability or is differently abled, the first thing you want to consider when choosing a special needs child daycare in Little Rock is their safety. Does the staff know how to handle any modifications to everyday activities like playing, eating, and using the restroom your child may require? Has the area been made accessible for those with physical disabilities? Is it arranged to be comfortable and welcoming for those with mental disabilities?
An EIDT daycare must follow certain protocols and training to be certified, so you can rest easy knowing your child is being cared for by someone who understands and can cater to their special needs.
Specialized Motor Skills Activities
When your child is undergoing daily occupational therapy during their daycare hours, they are completing motor skill activities as well as cognitive ability and problem-solving activities.
Fine motor skills are small movements made with your fingers, wrists, toes, lips, and tongue, such as holding a pencil or picking up a fork. Activities to improve motor skills usually include things like manipulating puzzles and toys, using scissors, practicing handwriting, and using buttons or zippers.
Gross motor skills coordinate arms, legs, and other large areas of the body. They allow us to control our bodies. Motor skill activities for children who need help in this area include going up and down stairs, moving left and right limbs at the same time, catching balls, and balancing exercises.
Frequency and consistency develop muscle memory and help to greatly improve a child’s motor skills.
Improves Sensory Processing
Children with sensory processing problems are not able to properly synthesize information using their five senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, sound). These children often experience over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity and sometimes both.
Children with these sensory-processing issues are easily distracted by other children playing nearby, adults speaking at a normal volume, and other daily background noise. They have difficulty filtering out stimulation and experience all of it at once. Swinging on a swing, playing on the jungle gym, or even a gentle brush or stroke against their bare skin can be painful or uncomfortable. When everyday activities are painful, they often avoid recess, gym class, riding bikes, or playing with other children.
EIDT daycares can include occupational therapy with other therapies, which can be very helpful for children suffering from sensory dysfunction.
Occupational therapy helps them improve their ability to regulate sensory input and distinguish the good from the bad. It exposes them to activities and builds muscle responses while familiarizing them with the feelings and sensations, making it easier to play and do the things children love.
Helps With Routine Activities
When a child has a physical or developmental disability, completing everyday activities we often take for granted can be difficult for them. Occupational therapy can help children develop their ability to brush their teeth, use the toilet, dress themselves, write, and draw. This is done with motor skill activities and through modifying these routine activities to make them easier to perform.
Remembering children with special needs are children first is extremely important. They have the same needs as all children — opportunities to learn and play; a place to feel physically safe, loved, and secure; people who care for them; and activities that allow them to be successful.
When a child has all of these things, they gain confidence. As they make progress and grow, they learn to trust themselves and respect others. Often, children with special needs need more time to practice and master certain skills.
They may need more encouragement and praise to gain the skills typical of their age group. They might need specific adaptations to the environment, the task, or the teaching to succeed.
When those needs are met, children with disabilities flourish and thrive. Enrolling your child in a daycare specially designed to promote these activities and abilities improves not just function but quality of life and confidence.
For More Information
If you have questions about special needs child daycare in Little Rock or how occupational therapy could help your child, contact Integrity Inc. at (501)406-0442. We can help you find the right services for your child with special needs.