When looking for a preschool for your child with autism, you have a lot to consider. You want a place they’ll feel safe and comfortable. You want the teachers and staff to be excited about their work and ready to partner with you. And you want to make sure that your child is in a program that helps them become independent, joyous, and successful in elementary school and beyond.
While all preschools try to help children learn to socialize and communicate with their peers, kids with autism usually need extra help in these areas.
How do you select the best preschool program? Here are a handful of questions you should ask when you’re looking at preschool options.
Is the treatment evidence-based?
When someone is diagnosed with autism, getting them treatment as fast as possible makes a huge difference. In fact, early intervention for preschool-aged children can transform their life.
You want to be sure that your preschool is applying evidence-backed treatment. Most medical experts, including the U.S. Surgeon General, agree that applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy best fits kids with autism.
To ensure your child gets the right treatment for their specific needs and goals, PhDs developed our ABA-based program here at Stride. They also provide ongoing oversight. Additionally, we maintain relationships with several leading academic institutions that help support our programs and ensure we are integrating the latest research.
How is the staff trained and supported?
Every relationship matters for your child. When you’re comparing preschools, look for one that provides dedicated training to all of its staff. Here at Stride, for example, we give all of our employees extensive in-person training with our clinical leadership before they start working with your child. Then, we provide ongoing supervision to ensure they are continuously progressing and implementing the highest quality care.
It’s also important to choose a preschool that supports its staff. We believe that when our team members are well taken care of, they’re better positioned to take the best care of your child. That’s why we set our team up with mentors who are senior clinicians in the field of ABA.
Does the preschool collaborate with you?
Children with autism benefit from a seamless day. They can get understandably confused if they have one experience at home, then a completely different one at preschool.
The best preschool for your child will be one that works hand-in-hand with you. They should not just support your child while they’re at the center, but also help you learn tools and techniques you can use to help them at home.
At Stride, we see our relationship with our preschoolers’ parents as a collaborative one. We’re a team working together to support the best outcomes for your child.
In fact, we’re family-owned, so we truly understand the importance of the family/preschool partnership. Our founder’s sister has a severe autism-related disorder, and everything we do is born out of the desire to help families in similar situations.
If you live in Illinois, Iowa, or Nebraska and are currently looking for a preschool for your child with autism, we would love to see if Stride Autism Centers is right for your family. To explore this option, contact us.