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Topic Overview

What if your child has special needs?

Federal and state laws allow equal access to public education and other services such as speech and physical therapy for children with disabilities or certain conditions that require special care. Find out which laws apply to your child and how to get available services. Contact your local government's mental health office or your state department of education.

How can you help your child get the right start?

Children need time to adjust to child care. It is common for a child to cling or cry when a parent leaves. But you can take steps to help your child do well in child care.

  • Prepare yourself and your child. It may help if you both get used to spending time apart. Hire a babysitter or ask a friend or relative to help watch your child for short periods, and gradually make the sessions longer.
  • Tell your child what will happen. If your child is an older toddler or a preschooler, talk about meeting new friends and doing new things. Remind your child that you will come back to pick him or her up.
  • Work into the new routine slowly. You may keep the first visit short and stay with your child. Stay away a little longer each day. Follow your child's lead. He or she may be more ready to join the group than you thought.
  • Spend extra time saying good-bye for the first few days. Some children will be ready and eager for the new routine. An extra minute or two to get your child involved in a new project or with a group of children may be all that is needed.
  • Let your child bring something from home, if the center allows it. Having a special blanket or toy can be a comfort.

If you spend time with your child and are calm and loving, he or she will be more likely to adjust to and enjoy child care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about child care:

Keeping your child healthy and stimulated:

Ongoing concerns:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 14, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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