With summer officially here, if parents haven’t already done so they will soon be looking for ways to keep their kids entertained for the next two and half months. Luckily (or not) for us, with three kids under the age of four, we’re not really at the stage of looking at summer camps just yet. Instead, after four years with the same daycare we found ourselves in the market for a new daycare.
My husband and I always knew we were going to be a two income family, regardless of where we were living. So when we found out we were pregnant with our daughter, finding the perfect place for her was a top priority. I started looking as soon as we passed the 12 week pregnancy mark. We looked at nannies, in-home daycare centers, privately owned centers and corporate daycare centers. I got recommendations for various childcare options from friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. To say I did “some research” would be putting it mildly. We finally narrowed the decision down to two locations. Both were within the same price range, within 5 mins of each other (and our house) and both offered the care/services we were interested in. It came down to the personality and energy of the teachers and the overall happiness of the kids that sealed the deal for us in terms of where we went.
Fast forward 2 or so years and we find out we’re pregnant again – with twins. After a difficult high risk pregnancy I delivered the boys on November 1, 2013. They were just 34 weeks 1 day. Both boys were in NICU for several weeks before coming home. During their stint in NICU we were told that Gavin may have some issues – the doctors couldn’t confirm what at this stage but it would be likely he’d have developmental delays due to some damage done to his brain during pregnancy.
Daycare was aware that there might be some issues with Gavin, that he’d receive early intervention (PT and OT) and we’d take each day as it came. While not trained to handle special needs kids, they were willing to work with us and our therapists to help our son and we’d been so happy with our daycare that it never even got discussed to consider a new option. Ultimately though it wasn’t the right fit. It wasn’t just about our daughter anymore and what was right for her four years ago was no longer right for our entire family of five / a children. We decided that it would be best to start the hunt for a new daycare. But this time the search was different. There are no “special needs” daycare centers in CT. There are some daycare centers that are better equipped to handle special needs kids than others but that’s about it. We realized during the search that the questions we asked were different this time around. We still asked the “what services do you offer” and “do you teach sign language, math, reading, colors, letters, etc” but also had to add in, “can you handle a special needs child?”, “what is your comfort level with having a special needs child on valium (this is a blog for another day)?” “are OT/PT allowed into the center?” “can he have his adaptive devices on campus?”
Overall the search became much more difficult. It wasn’t just about making sure the needs of our daughter and non special needs son were being met but also ensuring that not only did the new center understand what our situation was, comfort level at dealing with Gavin but following the recommendations made by his therapists to ensure the best outcomes for Gavin as he grows and learns.
Monday was their first day and I’m happy to report that all three kids had an amazing day. I am confident we will see both Bailey and Spencer thrive but also will allow Gavin more opportunity to grow, learn and thrive as well. They will treat him with the respect and compassion he deserves and whether a child has special needs or not that’s really what they all deserve and what we all hope to provide our kids when we can’t be the primary caregiver during the day.