Sending a kid to daycare is destabilizing enough without adding the extra concerns when you have a child with unique needs such as sensory sensitivity. A child with sensory sensitive has difficulty processing cues through the senses such as touch, smell, taste, and balance. This child will need a supportive and understanding school environment if he is to thrive.
What to Look out for in a Daycare
The space should be free of clutter and have sufficient storage space. It should also be organized and aesthetically appealing.
Inquire about the program of activities and look at it keenly. Choose a daycare with a variety of play options; particularly those that stimulate creativity, physical coordination, the dramatic and the artistic dimensions. It should have equipment and material that will help develop motor skills. Activities that include cutting, gluing and molding are ideal. Activities should alternate between calm time and muscle-stimulating activities. A playground is essential. Is the program of activities predictable? Predictable activities help to reduce confusion and anxiety.
Materials & Equipment
You need materials that will help your child with balance; these include climbing blocks, exercise balls, trampolines, balance beams etc. Ensure there are soft areas such as pillows, cushions, mattresses where children sensitive to touch can relax.
There should be no more than 10 children in a class.
Find out if the school makes provisions for kids with sensory sensitivity. Ask the school administration if they can make adjustments to accommodate your child as follows. Can I bring snacks for the child? Can he have objects for chewing?
Can your child get an alternative table during circle time? During sessions that require standing in line, make arrangements with the teachers to ensure your child is either at the front or at the back of the line. This ensures that other children don't bump into him. Can your child bring along and use a fidget toy during circle time. This will help him focus and keep his hands busy and also stop him from poking other children.
Does the staff of your pre-k 4 classes have experience with sensory sensitivity? How do they expect to handle tantrums?
Finding the right daycare for your child is a challenge. Finding a suitable one for your child with sensory sensitivity is even more challenging. You will have to ensure that the space, activities, materials, equipment, class size and staff meet your child's special needs. Above all, ensure that the administration of your pre-k 4 classes is understanding, flexible and cooperative.