Québec child care is becoming increasingly inclusive of children with intellectual disabilities or pervasive developmental disorders.
In 2004-2005, 1.76% of children in Québec day care facilities had some kind of disability. Research into strategies and innovative models for inclusion in day care settings was clearly needed.
Child care settings will become better equipped to contribute to the development of all children.
A study conducted in 25 child care institutions demonstrated the positive effects of inclusion on children with intellectual disabilities or pervasive developmental disorders, specifically with respect to socialization and duration of social interaction. This being said, these benefits are associated with an inclusive practice based on collaboration and communication between parents and the various child care stakeholders, a clear identification of the needs of children with intellectual disabilities or pervasive developmental disorders, an openness on the part of child care providers, the presence of a structured intervention targeting the progressive development of the child, and access to a variety of human, information and financial resources.
Nonetheless, there is a gap between talk and practice that points to the necessity of providing training in inclusion practices, including both strategy and the foundations of inclusion. The absence of a well-defined inclusion policy is clearly hampering its full development in child care settings.
The creation of a guide to effective inclusive practices in child care settings will contribute to the emergence of innovative and effective professional inclusion actions. Such a guide will provide a framework for inclusive child care settings and assist in the development of a common understanding of the foundations of inclusion. In this way, child care settings will become better equipped to contribute to the development of all children in their care.
Nadia Rousseau, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
Deposit of the research report: November 2010