Daily Strategies

Children with disabilities and developmental challenges mostly show the same signs of readiness for toilet training as typically developing children; although, these signs might appear later, and toilet training might take longer.

  • Depending on your child’s needs and diagnosis, you may consider seeking advice from a health professional (e.g. paediatrician, family doctor, continence advisor, occupational therapist, psychologist or physiotherapist) before beginning to toilet train
  • The practices in place at home should be as consistent as practically possible with the ones provided at early childhood education and care settings
  • Discuss progress and focus (some children may need to learn one or two skills at a time) with early childhood educators
  • Children progress at different rates. If you find you are worrying about how your child compares to other children, you may find it helpful to focus instead on the gains your child is making. Even small gains are progress!
  • If toilet training gets too frustrating with no signs of progress, seek additional support and consider taking a short break before trying again.
Incursions are an important way for educators to bring in experts to run new activities and experiences within an early childhood education and care setting. Some children can become anxious or overstimulated with changes in routine.

  • Talk to the educators about all aspects of the incursion including who is coming, where the incursion will be held, what they will be doing throughout the day, when the activity will take place, and how that changes what they would normally be doing
  • Ask the educators about any special rules and expectations (e.g. working in small groups; not touching objects; staying seated for a longer period, etc.) and whether your child will require support with these
  • Talk to your child about the day to help them be prepared
  • Consider creating a visual schedule or story about the incursion for your child
  • Ask the educator to pair your child with a buddy or a staff member they feel safe with if you think that may help.
Excursions are an important part of children’s lives in preschool. They can be within the local community (e.g. a walk to the library and gardens) or further away (e.g. a museum or gallery). Some children can become anxious or overstimulated with changes in routine.

  • Talk to the educators about all aspects of the excursion including who is going on the excursion, where the excursion will be held, what they will be doing, when the activity will take place, and how that changes what they would normally would be doing
  • Ask the educators about any special rules and expectations (e.g. working in small groups; not touching objects; staying seated for a longer period, etc.) and whether your child will require support with these
  • Talk to your child about the day and help your child be prepared for the day
  • Consider creating a visual schedule or story about the excursion for your child
  • Ask the educator to pair your child with a buddy or a staff member they feel safe with if you think that may help
  • If your child has physical or developmental challenges, the educators should carefully plan for different aspects of the excursion so that your child can be safe and successfully participate
Some children may find safety drills distressing because of the noise and an unexpected change. Ask your child’s educator to:

     
  • Let your child and you know when a safety drill will occur and make one-on-one time to demonstrate and practise with your child what they will be doing          
  • Pair your child with a buddy or trusted adult          
  • If relevant, allow your child to wear noise reduction headphones if the alarms or noise upsets your child
Children with disabilities and developmental challenges are at increased risk of sleep problems which may include difficulty falling asleep.

  • Depending on your child’s needs, you may have considered seeking advice from a health professional (e.g. paediatrician, family doctor, occupational therapist, psychologist or physiotherapist) to support your child’s sleep routine. Share what you have learned - and put in practice - with your child’s educators.
  • Become familiar with the bedding and setup that your child will be using at long day care and/or kindergarten. Discuss any adjustments needed for your child
  • It may be helpful to share tips about what keeps your child calm and comfortable at home (e.g. dim lights, room temperature, soft music, etc.)
  • Keep in mind that your child may not be able to have the same set up which may impact on their sleep in early childhood education and care settings
Much research shows that caregivers of children with disabilities and developmental challenges experience higher rates of stress and may have a grief response to having their child receive a diagnosis. Family life with a child with a disability or developmental challenges can be emotional and challenging at times. Siblings of all ages may need support too.

Consider:
             
  • Staying physically active          
  • Being kind to yourself          
  • Strengthening your support network          
  • Joining support groups for families similar to you          
  • Celebrating small and big successes and milestones (yours and your child’s)          
  • Keeping to your family’s routine as much as possible          
  • Trying breathing and relaxation techniques          
  • Spending one-on-one time with your other children          
  • You may be eligible to attend MyTime: support for anyone caring for a child with a disability or chronic medical condition.


If you feel overwhelmed and need immediate support, call your family doctor or contact:

AllPlay Learn stories

AllPlay Learn Early Stories have been designed for parents and educators to read with young children to help them to find out about what happens at early childhood education and care settings and to feel positive about responding to new situations.

Link to AllPlay Learn's early years stories with text