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Welcoming children with disabilities to people&baby daycare centres

Inclusion means allowing children who need extra support to benefit from special care facilities. Children with disabilities are welcomed into people&baby daycare centres as part of a carefully thought-out and adapted educational programme: motor disorders, autism or Down's syndrome... each child is welcomed with his or her differences.

Organising the reception of children with disabilities well in advance

An Individualised Welcome Plan (Plan d’Accueil Individualisé - PAI) is drawn up at a meeting prior to the child's arrival. This is written jointly by the parents, the daycare centre management, the daycare centre doctor and the child's GP. The PAI defines the guidelines for the protocol to be adopted on a day-to-day basis to support the child, as well as those to be put in place in the event of an emergency or crisis.

The team appoints a referent who may receive in-house training specific to the child's disability. The spaces are organised to make it easier for the child to move around the facility (in the case of a motor disability) and to access games that correspond to the child's intellectual and cognitive development.

"For several years now, we have been trying to adapt to all needs and to demonstrate equality in this area. Our practice has taught us the need for co-education with families: the key to successful support", says Mathilde Bernier, director of the rue du Puits daycare centre in Carvin, which currently accommodates three children with disabilities.

Providing an environment suited to the development of children with disabilities

Welcoming a child with a disability means offering them an environment where they can develop at their own pace and socialise. The daycare centre sets up activities to help them develop, using appropriate tools (pictograms, gestures, singing, etc.). This approach encourages the child to be stimulated and facilitates his integration into the group. And by explaining the child's disability and needs to the other children in a straightforward way, natural empathy prevails and helping behaviour emerges.

The professionals keep an up-to-date record of the child's educational progress and pass on information to the families on a daily basis: what has the child discovered, what relationships does he or she have with the group? Through this communication, the child's progress is valued and the discussion focuses on the child's day-to-day life in the centre.

"Our support is focused on awakening the child. So we talk to parents about their child's games and interests rather than about care, which is already very present outside the daycare centre", explains Alexandra Lamiot, trainer at people&baby.

Training courses to prepare professionals

Every year, a large number of people&baby professionals receive training in motor, mental and sensory disabilities, so that they can adapt their approach, make suggestions on educational approaches and adjust the environment to the specific needs of certain children. Participants are prepared for different situations through theory, role-playing and sharing of experiences.

Taught by 4 approved trainers from Enfance Pour Tous, people&baby's training organisation, these sessions were set up in response to growing demand from professionals: an internal study revealed that 40% of our facilities welcome children requiring a PAI for a disability or chronic illness.

"Following this study, we drew up a Disability Reference Guide for our teams, presenting the different types of disability, explaining how to detect them and how best to support the child and his or her family in conjunction with our partners", explains Alexandra Lamiot. "The training is an extension of this approach."

Welcoming a child with a disability: an asset for everyone

"Many parents are reluctant to talk about their child's disability for fear that he/she won't be taken on, even though they could be a priority. people&baby welcomes children with Down's syndrome, Down's syndrome 11, behavioural problems (autistic type) or motor or sensory disabilities (visual, hearing, etc.) in its daycare centres. "Welcoming a child with a disability is an opportunity for everyone (adults and children) to respect each other, whatever their background or needs", concludes Alexandra Lamiot.