Welcome to Part One of a Three Part series on Inclusion and understanding your legal responsibilities regarding inclusion of children or students with disabilities in your AfterSchool, Child Care or Tutoring program.
List of Medical Conditions & Disorders
List of Acronyms & Abbreviations
List of Frequently Asked Questions
The Division of Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children defines inclusion as:
A value that supports the right of all children, regardless of their diverse abilities, to participate actively in natural settings within their communities.
A natural setting is one in which the child would spend time had he or she not had a disability. Such settings include, but are not limited to, home and family, play groups, child care, pre-schools, Head Start programs, kindergartens and neighborhood school classrooms.
The law has been crafted so the needs of the small business person were considered. Changes must be reasonable and easily achievable. For example, in most cases, it is relatively inexpensive to build a ramp, widen one exterior door, and equip a unisex bathroom (with appropriate signage, two grab-bars, elevated stool, open handled door handles and a wider door). In addition, you might want to consider installing indoor -outdoor carpeting to help ensure the safety of children.
Costly structural changes are absolutely not required if affordable alternatives are available (e.g. providing pitchers and cups rather than raising or lowering water fountains or changing a hinge on a door to facilitate wheelchair clearance rather than knocking down a wall.
In short, child care providers in both centers and homes are required to make programs, services and facilities available to children with disabilities. However, they are not required to add programs or services that are not provide for all other children. For example, of children ages 3-5 need to be potty trained to be admitted then the same rule would apply to children with disabilities. The ADA provides for equality, NOT for additional rights.
1. Remove barriers or provide alternative services so that facilities, services, programs, transportation and communication are available to all children. For example, using a car to transport physically impaired children rather than an on -lift bus or using a state provided relay system instead of using a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing or their families may be reasonable alternatives.
2. Consider a child’s disability as merely a characteristic of the child. Do not deny admission based upon the disability.
3. Realize that if you , as either a center or home care provider, are receiving a subsidy for some children and also have some children of whom parents are paying, you must comply with Title II (public services) and Title III (public accommodations). The latter title specifies child care.
4. Eliminate any program standard that may result in children being screened out of your program. For example, if feeding themselves was a requirement, then some children with muscle spasticity could never enroll.
5. Revise the current enrollment form that you use for all children so that it includes asking parents if there is anything your staff needs to know to better care for their child including, but not limited to: allergies, sleep habits, hearing aids, needing a pacifier, wearing glasses, seizure disorder, other disability issues and custody issues.
6. Permit children with disabilities to have access to facilities, programs, services communication and transportation at your center or home facility. In addition, depending upon the size of the facility and sources of funding, you may be required to comply with the employment provisions of Title I. As of July 26, 1995, any center with 15 or more employees must comply with Title i. If in doubt, consult your attorney.
The above information was taken from Understanding Inclusion by the Children’s Forum.
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