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APPENDIX A: Supporting Children with Disabilities

Children with disabilities may progress at different rates than typically developing children:

It may be useful to look at the Developmental Indicators for a younger age level for ideas of next steps for the child whose developmental level seems to be different from the Developmental Indicators located within the continuum for his or her chronological age. In some cases, adults may need to observe children with disabilities more closely to notice their progress and may need to use alternate methods to help them demonstrate their capabilities. Adults will need to individualize their expectations and the opportunities provided for the child to demonstrate progress. For example, a nonverbal child could be provided with technology such as a voice output device that allows the child to push a button that will speak for him or her in order to participate in a game with other children.

Teachers and providers may need to adapt or modify learning activities and instruction:

To ensure that each child is able to fully participate in all learning activities, adaptions and modifications can be made. For instance, the teacher could have the child point to pictures instead of talking when making a choice about which free play activity to join. For more adaptations and strategies for working with children with disabilities click here.

Fostering relationships for children with disabilities:

In addition, it is important to consider how peer relationships can benefit all children, including those with disabilities. When designing learning activities, an adult could consider pairing a child with a disability with a typically developing peer to help the child reach his or her goals, learn a new skill, or participate more fully. This approach helps to foster emotional and social development skills in both children.

Family engagement is important for children with disabilities:

All children benefit when their families are involved in the learning process. This is especially important for children with disabilities. Family members can often provide valuable information about resources or tools they have found to be effective in meeting their child’s individual needs. In addition to the child’s family, teachers may also communicate with other members of the child’s support system, such as specialists and therapists, to ensure that the child’s goals are being met and that they are demonstrating progress based on the Developmental Indicators. For children with identified disabilities served through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP), the child’s team members can be a valuable resource for additional support/strategies. Collaboration with families and with other service providers--is extremely important when supporting children with disabilities as they make progress in the areas described in The South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines.

To learn more about services for children with disabilities: • For infants and toddlers, contact South Dakota Birth to 3 Program (605)773-3678 or 800-305-3064. • For children 3 to 5 years of age, contact the local school district. SD Educational Directory

SD Parent Connections

SD Center for Disabilities

DHS-Family Support 360

DHS-Strengthening Families Program

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