Enhancing Child Care for Children with Special Needs Through Technical Assistance

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Journal of Family Strengths, ISSN: 2168-670X, Vol: 14, Issue: 1, Page: 9

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Collins, Cyleste C; Fischer, Rob; Lalich, Nina
special needs child care; technical assistance; special needs; child care
article description
Children with special needs often require additional supports in child care settings. The provision of technical assistance (TA) and consultation to child care teachers is an established method for addressing this need. This study expands on existing research by bringing the perspective of different adults (parents, technical assistance consultants, teachers, and child care center directors) together to better understand the experiences of all parties involved in TA cases for children between the ages of three and five. The concerns most frequently leading to the consultation were social-emotional-behavioral (50.5%), developmental (32.3%), medical (28.3%), and environmental risk (14%), and one quarter of parents reported that their child had more than one of these concerns. Parents’ evaluations of the outcomes of the consultation were predicted by the parent’s race, level of education, and whether they saw a behavioral concern as the initial reason for the consultation. Open-ended comments provided more insight into each group of adults’ experiences, some of which included frustration about feeling involved/included in the consultation (for parents) and parents’ not being involved in and/or engaged with the consultation (for other adults). The study’s findings emphasize the importance of all adults working as a team to ensure the best possible care for children with special needs.