DAY CARE FOR HANDICAPPED CHILDREN
Day care programs oriented to the developmental needs of infants and young children should be established throughout the United States and should be available to all parents who wish to enroll their children. Excellent day care programs with a well-trained, child care staff, progressive educational programs, and comprehensive child health care services can benefit many children of this country, including those who are handicapped.
Whenever possible, handicapped children should be integrated into the same groups and programs as other children. The physical, emotional, social, and intellectual characteristics children share are greater than the differences caused by any handicap. No children should be isolated, segregated, or excluded. Day care facilities should be planned to include the needs of handicapped children. They should be free of physical barriers that would limit their use by a handicapped child; they should also contain provisions for the use of wheel chairs, grab bars, and other locomotive devices. The staff for programs with provisions for the handicapped will generally need additional training and be larger than that for programs for normal children; and the class size will often be smaller.
Even when day care programs are available for all children, the need for special programs for the handicapped will be great. Some special programs can be provided as a supplement to the day care program, for example, physical therapy and speech training for a child with cerebral palsy. Some infants and preschool children with handicaps may require separate programs in centers with a specially trained staff for a few months or years, for example, those who are blind, deaf and blind, autistic, and severely mentally retarded.
- Copyright © 1973 by the American Academy of Pediatrics