Children with special needs include “… all children who have, or are at increased risk for, chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.” (Maternal Child Health Bureau)


Talking with Parents offers child care and early learning providers tips on communicating with parents who have a child with special needs in child care. We hope these materials will be shared among providers, educators and students to help better serve children with special needs and their parents.

Focus on a Child-Centered Partnership

Child care providers are a child’s family away from home. Providers might be second only to the family in knowing a child well. Parents and providers together focus their efforts on how best to help children grow and mature into happy, healthy youth and adults. The child is the center of the partnership’s attention. Seeing important adults in their life working in harmony puts children at ease and can enhance a child’s self esteem.

Skills that can help you build the parent-provider partnership include:

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