Services in pre-schools and child care centres

The first day for any child at either child care or a pre-school is usually a big event. For children with a physical disability, this is even more so.

Depending on the level of disability, much planning is usually required to make sure that it is an enjoyable experience.

What changes can be expected in how therapy support is provided?

Once children with physical disability start to attend Child Care or Preschool they may still receive some intervention home but therapists may also be involved at the Child Care Centre or Preschool.


How can Novita help prepare for the child attending a child care centre or preschool?

Novita staff help by:

  • talking with parents about what is important in choosing a child care centre or preschool
  • visiting places that parents are considering, to look at accessibility (for example, the need for ramps and or rails)
  • planning for, and requesting equipment that may be needed
  • talking to the staff about how to help the child join in, as much as possible, activities with other children
  • attending planning meetings at the Child Care or Preschool
  • providing staff training, if requested.


How are special supports planned in the centre or preschool?

  • For children with disabilities, preschool staff have a meeting called a Negotiated Education Plan (NEP). View more information about NEPs from the Department of Education and Children’s Services website. This involves discussing and writing down the special things that the child will need so that they can join in activities. Therapists are often invited to these meetings to provide ideas to the staff.
  • Once the child has settled into child care centre or preschool, therapists may visit them there regularly, but may also continue to see the child at home.
  • For some children, preschool or child care may be the first time that they require formal written health care plans (written information to guide staff in dealing with special health concerns for a child). Upon request, Novita therapists can provide the following care plans:
  • Transfer and Positioning Care Plan (PDF – 41Kb) – provided by the physiotherapist.
  • Oral Eating and Drinking Care Plan (PDF – 48Kb) – provided by the speech pathologist.


Ryan’s story

Ryan is a 4-year-old child with a physical disability who attends preschool 4 mornings each week. A combination of preschool and home visits are made to assist Ryan.

When staff visit the preschool, they:

  • join in some of the activities that Ryan is doing to get a good idea of his day
  • spend time suggesting to his helper and teacher at preschool ways that Ryan can:
  • join in
  • use his equipment
  • practise certain things
  • understand what they are saying
  • get along with his class mates
  • be helped at fruit time and lunch times
  • work with Ryan on a computer – sometimes this may happen with a buddy from the class. In this way, Ryan can practise things that he needs to learn to get ready for going to school next year.

Ryan’s parents sometimes choose to visit the preschool when the therapists are there so they can keep in touch with what is happening.


Read more about Occupational Therapy services in pre-school by Novita:

Related external links

Association of Independent Schools of South Australia

This site provides information about the range of services, including services to support students with disability, provided by schools and colleges in South Australia that are members of the Association.

Catholic Education – South Australia

This site provides information about the range of services, including services to support students with disability, provided by Catholic Education via their many schools and colleges in South Australia.

Child Health and Education Support Services (CHESS) – South Australia

A website of the Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) that provides information about childcare, health and disability services and research that support children with special needs in educational settings.

Department for Education & Child Development – Health Support Information page – South Australia

This page of the DECS site provides general information about how the Department caters for students who have complicated health needs. It is also possible to view and download the Health Support Plan used when planning support for such students.

Department for Education & Child Development – Student With Disability – South Australia

Provides parents and caregivers with a range of information relating to children with disabilities and learning difficulties and the supports provided by the Department.

Department for Education and Child Development – Negotiated Education Plan – South Australia

This page of the DECD site provides information the Negotiated Educational Plan for students with special needs.

Department for Education and Child Development – South Australia

The department provides educational services to children in South Australia.

Disability Discrimination Act – Education Standards (Australia)

Provides information designed to help users understand important parts of the Education Standards.

Special Education Resource Unit (SERU) – Negotiated Educational Plan (NEP) page

Detailed information is provided about the NEP planning process used by the Department for Education and Children’s Services. To view the page, it is necessary to click on the NEP icon in the navigation bar on the left hand side of the screen.