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Inclusion Information for Child Care Professionals

Inclusion Information for Child Care Professionals

Including a child with special needs in your program can benefit you and all the children in your program.  You will learn about the child’s daily activities, development, and routines and be able to work as a team with parents and other professionals to contribute to the child’s success.

Who is a Child with Special Needs?

Learn more about the definition of special needs according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

If you suspect that a child in your care may have special needs, you should bring it to the parents' attention and recommend resources for an evaluation. As the child's caregiver, it is important to provide parents with plenty of support and community resources. For additional parent resources, please click here.

What is the Law?

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that states people with disabilities are entitled to equal rights in employment, state and local public services, and public accommodations such as preschools, child care centers and family child care homes.  To learn more about what is and what is not required of child care programs click here.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.  IDEA protects a child with special needs by:

  • Allowing parents or schools to request an evaluation for a child if they syspect that she may have special needs.
  • Requiring public schools to provide free public education to children with identified special needs.
  • Requiring each child with special needs to have an Individualized  Family Service Plan (IFSP), for children birth-2 years, or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for children 3-21 years.  


Inclusion allows all children (with or without special needs) to learn in the same environment with the services and support they need to be successful.  Children may receive special services in inclusive environments.  Children with special needs require special care and attention.  To learn more about ways that your program can meet individual needs click here. To learn how to be included in a list of child care programs with specific training/and or expertise in working with children having special needs click here.


Inclusion Resources for Early Care & Education Professionals