According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, kids with disabilities are at least three times more likely to be abused or neglected than their peers without disabilities, and they are more likely to be seriously injured or harmed by maltreatment. A parent searching for the right daycare for their child has a lot of information to consider, but even more so when your child has a behavioral or emotional disability. Some daycares are better suited to take care of your child if they have special needs. Your focus is on finding a safe place that can provide the support system your child needs to benefit from their experience at daycare.
Types of Behavioral and Emotional Disabilities in Kids
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services define behavioral disorders as a pattern of behavior involving certain characteristics that last for at least 6 months and cause problems in school, at home, and in social situations. While every child will exhibit the following behavioral characteristics at times, behavioral disorders are longer lasting, more consistent, and more serious in their effects.
Behavioral disorders may involve any of following:
- Defiant behavior
Some of behavioral and emotional disorders that parents may face include:
● Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
● Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
● Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
● Anxiety and mood disorders
● Bipolar disorder
● Learning disorders
● Conduct disorders
● Disorders of self-regulation of sleep and feeding
Familiarizing yourself with the different characteristics of a child with a particular disorder will help you understand the type of environment they will need to flourish. Understanding the best environment for them will help zero you in on the types of questions to ask the daycares you are considering enrolling your child in.
What Are My Child’s Rights According to the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives parents the right to ask any daycare center to meet the unique needs of their child. The types of accommodations that a daycare may have to make include:
● Reasonable modifications to keep your child safe, such as removing obstacles or moving learning materials within your child’s reach.
● Providing tools and services to help your child communicate more easily, such as an interpreter or a provider who knows sign language.
● Evaluating your child’s special needs rather than rejecting the child because of a condition or diagnosis. The daycare center is obligated to determine whether they can accommodate your child’s needs.
Daycares can only refuse service to a child with a disability or special needs if enrolling the child would cause the center to change its entire program or if the child’s presence is a direct threat to others. If your child is enrolled in the daycare, then the daycare has a legal duty to keep your child safe from abuse and negligence.
Signs of Daycare Abuse that Parents Can Look For
The needs of a child with behavioral or emotional disorders are unique. When a daycare fails to qualify, train, and supervise its caregivers, children with disabilities often become the victims of abuse or neglect.
It can be more difficult to see the signs of abuse in children with special needs or behavioral disabilities, but parents should be aware of the possible evidence that points to physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological maltreatment, or neglect. Some signs to watch for include:
● There are sudden changes in your child’s behavior, such as becoming suddenly withdrawn or exhibiting aggressive or regressive behavior.
● Your child’s sleep patterns change or they begin having recurrent nightmares.
● Your child is hungry, thirsty, or has a dirty diaper at the end of the day.
● Your child complains about painful genitals or shows an unusual interest in sexual behaviors.
● Your child exhibits physical signs of abuse or neglect, including cuts, bruises, broken bones, or burns.
As the parent, you know your child better than anyone. You may notice certain changes in them that raise red flags or just give you a gut feeling that something is wrong. The best advice we can offer is that you go with your gut and act to make sure any changes are documented and that the daycare is doing everything they are supposed to in order to keep your child safe from harm.
Where Do You Turn if Your Child is Injured?
If you are concerned about an injury your child received at daycare – or if you suspect that your child may be the victim of abuse at daycare – immediately report the incident to your state daycare licensing agency to initiate an investigation into what happened. In Texas, you can report the incident through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Abuse and Neglect Hotline by accessing their reporting system through this portal. If you are not in Texas, then find out how to report your child’s injury by checking out or How to Report a Daycare Injury in Your State website page.
Do I Need a Texas Daycare Injury Lawyer?
The simple truth is that your child’s disability may become their daycare’s excuse for what happened to your child.
That’s where The Button Law Firm steps in. Negligent daycares cannot get away with blaming abuse or neglect on a child’s disabilities or disorders. Our team will act fast to investigate and help get your family answers as to what happened and why.
You can reach our team of experienced daycare abuse and neglect attorneys by calling us at 214-699-4409. You can also schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation today by completing this contact form.