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Children with additional needs

Including children with additional needs

Choosing a service can be hard for every parent, but it can be even more overwhelming for parents who have a child with additional needs. Some feel stressed about how their child will ‘fit in’ to a mainstream environment, and others may worry about how well their child’s specific needs will be met.

If your child has additional needs, they may benefit greatly from attending a quality service. It will provide your child with opportunities that will support and enhance their learning, skills, experiences and development.

It can also benefit your family as a whole, providing peace of mind knowing that your child is in good hands.


What should your child care service do?

  • Work collaboratively with you about your child’s specific needs including your child’s social, emotional and physical development and how these can be supported
  • Respect and accept your child
  • Show that they see your child as a whole person, not only in terms of their needs
  • Take the time to get to know your child, their strengths and interests, as well as their areas of need
  • Use your child’s interests and strengths as a basis for planning activities
  • Adapt planned activities and daily routines to support your child’s participation, where possible
  • In a sensitive way, help other children and adults to understand your child’s needs and include your child in daily activities
  • Acknowledge and uphold your family’s and children’s rights to confidentiality
  • Provide you with regular information about your child’s progress and experiences, as well as any concerns or issues that arise
  • Record daily information about your child e.g. details relating to toileting, eating habits, and their behaviour with other children etc.


There are many things you can share with the educators at your service to help your child’s inclusion

  • What your child’s main needs are and how these affect their daily lives and experiences
  • Their interests and the things that they do well
  • The strategies you use to support your child at home and elsewhere e.g. ways to calm or distract your child when they are upset
  • The situations or routines that can cause physical or emotional challenges for your child
  • The signs to look out for to see if your child is distressed or is having difficulty coping
  • Details about the support or other therapies your child is receiving and encourage contact between these services

Read our fact sheet on managing children’s special health needs.