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Children with Special Needs

Parents of children with special needs may have additional concerns and considerations in finding child care that is sensitive and respectful.

“A Guide for Parents: Questions to Ask When Seeking Child Care for Children With Special Needs” helps family members when they seek an early care and education program for a child with special needs.

These resources help families access services and child care to help their children grow and develop.

Help Me Grow
Help Me Grow’s services and programs are for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with developmental delays or disabilities, from birth to kindergarten age. Services are designed to meet the unique learning needs of each child and are free to eligible families regardless of income or immigrant status. If you have questions about your child’s development, or if you think your child might need extra help to learn, visit the website or call 866.693.4769.

Early Childhood Screening
Early Childhood Screening is a quick and simple way to check how your 3 to 5-year-old is growing, learning, and developing. Screenings are free and can help detect possible health or learning problems so that children can get help they need before starting kindergarten. An Early Childhood Screening, or a similar health and developmental screening, is required for your child to enter kindergarten in Minnesota public schools. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact your local school district. Call the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) at 651.582.8412, or search MDE’s online directory.

Follow Along Program
The free Follow Along Program is available to families with children between birth and 3 years of age in most Minnesota counties. Families can receive age-appropriate developmental and social-emotional screening tools every 4-6 months and fun activities to help support their child’s development. Families are connected to additional community resources when appropriate, including referrals to Help Me Grow and early childhood mental health providers when concerns are identified. Families may enroll online or by calling 800.728.5420.

Center for Inclusive Child Care (CICC)
The Center for Inclusive Child Care is a resource network supporting inclusive care for young children and their caregivers. CICC provides coaching to early care and education professionals to successfully include children with unique needs or challenging behaviors to prevent expulsion. They also work to implement health and safety best practices and improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers. Learn more by visiting their website or calling 651.641.8339.

PACER Center
PACER Center is a parent training and information center for families of children with disabilities. Located in Minneapolis, it serves families across the nation, as well as those in Minnesota. Parents can find publications, workshops, and other resources to help make decisions about education, vocational training, employment, and other services for their children.

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