You’re nervous as you walk into the child care provider’s home this week. On the last two visits, you noticed that the baby you are seeing was lying in a playpen in the dining room away from the other children. He was awake, lying on his back, which you noticed he kept arching due to his cerebral palsy (CP). There were no toys in the playpen and you had the sense that he was being kept out of the way. You know he’s a quiet baby and you are concerned that he could be spending all day there. When you ask the child care provider about it, she shrugs and says that she doesn’t want him to get hurt with the other children running around. She also says that she finds it hard to hold him or put him anywhere else because of his CP. While you’re in the home, you keep him out of the playpen and work with the child care provider, trying out ways to position him and get him engaged but she seems distracted by the other children. When you leave, you see the child care provider put him back in the playpen.
Situations like this can haunt an early interventionist long after he/she drives away from the home.
It’s important to keep in mind that most child care providers have good intentions and most probably have not cared for a child with a significant disability before. Supporting a child care provider can be complicated by many factors, such as a lack of understanding about the child’s abilities and challenges, the need to attend to other children in their care, differences in child-rearing practices between the parents and child care provider, etc.
As the early interventionist, you have to find ways to build a supportive relationship with the care provider that is both sensitive to the complex environment and effective in addressing the child’s needs through appropriate and engaging care.
With that in mind, how would you handle this situation? What would you do?
How would you share your concerns with the child care provider? With the parent?
What would you do to support this child care provider so that she is more comfortable caring for this child?
What questions would you ask to find out how to help her?
Share your thoughts and ideas!