Improving the quality of life of individuals with Down syndrome.

 
Finding Child care

Finding good child care for your baby or toddler is difficult in the best of circumstances, but when you have a child with Down syndrome, it becomes even more of a challenge to find a centre that will meet your family’s needs.  Here is some information to help you make this very important decision:

Preschool Integration Services

Choosing a Centre

The Halton Resource Connection

Quality First

Financial Assistance

Licensed Home Child Care


Preschool Integration Services

 

If you are looking into a nursery school or childcare centre, The Ministry of Community and Social Services provides the funding to the Halton Region for preschool integration services.  To register for these services, call the Halton Region at 905-825-6000 and ask to be put on the wait list for Integration Services.

 

Websites

Halton Region 

Community Living Burlington 

Community Living North Halton

 

The services generally begin when the child is around 2 years of age and are provided by resource consultants.  

From the Community Living Burlington website:

“The Resource Consultant works in partnership with the childcare centres, nursery schools, families and community resources to provide an effective inclusion experience. The Resource Consultant will assist families and centres to develop individual program plans and strategies to further develop the child's strengths while fully participating in the activities of an integrated child care centre.”

Oakville centres and a couple of Burlington centres work with resource consultants from the Halton Region. Most Burlington centres are served by Community Living Burlington.  Centres in Milton, Acton, and Georgetown work with Community Living North Halton.

If your child is still an infant, your developmental consultant is able to visit the child care centre until the child is old enough to be picked up by Preschool Integration Services.

 

Choosing a Centre

Not all centres choose to be integrated.  For a list of centres in Halton that do accept children with special needs, please email contact@haltondownsyndrome.com

Here are some questions to consider when choosing a centre: 

  1. What are your impressions when you walk into the centre? What is the atmosphere like and are the children happy? 
  2. How is the classroom set up? Are toys orderly and accessible? 
  3. What are the teachers doing?  Are they engaged with the children, or are they doing other things?
  4. Is the curriculum accessible to parents?
  5. Are you aware of any other children with special needs in the centre?  
  6. Is it possible to arrange a team meeting with therapists and the teachers? 
  7. Does the centre have experience with children who have Down syndrome? Perhaps more importantly, are they open to learning about your child's needs? 
  8. Do the teachers have a pleasant tone when they speak to the children?  
  9. Are you able to visit with your child before your child starts at the centre? 
  10. What is the outdoor area like? If your child isn't walking, how will your child be accommodated outdoors? 
  11. What is on the menu? Will the food offered work with your child's diet? If not, can the centre adjust the meals and snacks? 

 

Don’t be afraid to discuss your concerns with the centre staff. Often they have dealt with a similar situation and it will put your mind at ease when they explain how they will handle different issues. 

  

The Halton Resource Connection

 If you are having trouble finding a centre or if you are interested in a list of home child care providers, The Halton Resource Connection might be able to help you. 

This organization maintains a database of child care providers and will help match your child with an appropriate child care setting.  You can fill out an online form, but for best results, please phone them directly at 905-875-0235 Ext. 130, 131, or 132. 

  

Quality First

Quality First is an initiative to improve the quality of child care in the Halton Region. They help centres assess their programs and services as well as provide curriculum support, and professional development.  Centres that are Quality First participants must meet certain criteria and show a commitment to improving their services.  Quality First centres must also support inclusion.

Quality First Centres in Halton  

 Naturally, it is best to research the centre yourself and determine if it best meets the needs of your child.


Financial Assistance

There is financial assistance available for child care for families who meet certain criteria.  The funding is based on income level and there is a sliding scale which determines how much financial assistance the family will obtain.  Generally parents need to be working or in school to receive this assistance, but in certain other circumstances, funding may be provided if it is deemed important for the child and family. 

To get a rough idea of whether you will qualify for financial assistance, there is an online calculator on the Halton Region Website. You will need the number in Line 236 from the last Notice of Assessment you received after submitting your taxes. (Do not include commas in the online form.)  

Financial Assistance Calculator

Keep in mind that each situation is unique, so it is best to contact the region for further information even if you think you do not qualify. They will let you know for certain and may also be able to tell you of other programs that could assist your family.  Please call the Halton Region at 905-825-6000 to see if your family is eligible. 

 

Licensed Home Child Care

There are many reasons why parents may prefer to find a home child care provider, including cost and flexibility. The Halton Resource Connection (see above) can help connect you with a provider.

For more information about how the licensing works and what the benefits of home child care are, please visit:   www.hlhca.ca