6 qualities to look for in therapeutic preschools for kids with disabilities

2023 Preschool Graduation, kids with hands in air

Navigating the school system can be very difficult if your child has a disability or needs extra developmental support. To truly thrive, these children need engaging school programs that are responsive to their progress and changing needs. For the best learning experiences, they’ll need integrated care and therapies that don’t disrupt their school day.

This high level of individual support shouldn’t come at the expense of a social school experience. Your child should have opportunities for social and emotional learning every day. Their earliest learning experiences should set them up to be confident and build strong social connections.

A therapeutic preschool is a specialized learning environment that delivers all of the above. Could this type of program be the best fit for your child? This article covers six qualities to consider when you’re looking at therapeutic preschools.

What can a therapeutic preschool offer for kids with disabilities?

A therapeutic preschool is a uniquely caring and inclusive educational environment for kids ages 1 to 5. It provides continuity of care so your child is able to learn and receive therapies in one structured environment. At the Mary Shaw Branton Therapeutic Preschool, we offer a wide range of medical, therapeutic and educational services. Each child follows a personalized learning plan, receiving one-on-one therapies during the school day. They have immediate opportunities to practice what they’re working on in the classroom.

In our play-based program, kids with and without disabilities learn together. They work on social, emotional and behavioral development activities that promote independence and kindness. Here, we celebrate each student’s successes, both big and small.

6 qualities to look for in therapeutic preschools for kids with disabilities

As a parent, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the decisions you’ll have to make. That’s how TerRáe and Faith’s story started. But learning about Ability KC’s therapeutic preschool showed TerRáe she didn’t have to figure it all out herself. Here, her daughter Faith could feel a sense of belonging while developing at her own pace. She could reach her highest potential with the support of teachers and therapists who care about helping her.

Our program makes your child’s care simpler. You won’t need to juggle therapy appointments in different places. Instead, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy and other therapies are delivered in or just down the hall from your child’s classroom.

Each program is a little different, but the common goal is to foster learning and development in a community where each child can work at their own pace. If you’re looking for a program right now, keep these six qualities in mind:

  • Integrated care and education — Your child’s personalized plan should complement and reinforce what they’re working on in therapy. This can include gross motor skills, fine motor skills, speech and language, and more.
  • Teachers who understand — Teachers at a therapeutic preschool have experience working with children who have physical and developmental disabilities. They also work with those who are medically fragile. They lead with kindness, compassion and grace to help kids develop the same qualities and a positive attitude.
  • Therapists in the classroom — The focus on development isn’t limited to one-on-one therapy sessions. Each classroom team includes therapists to support a holistic experience specific to each child’s goals.
  • Collaborative care practices — Parents, therapists, teachers and other specialists are all considered part of your child’s care team. At Ability KC’s therapeutic preschool, we work together to keep you informed about your child’s emotional states, their development and their social well-being.
  • High teacher-to-student ratio — This goes a bit beyond small classroom sizes. Our therapeutic preschool has a 1:4 provider-to-student ratio, so each child gets the attention they need.
  • Inclusive classrooms — Both children with disabilities and their typically developing peers benefit from learning together. Children in these programs learn emotional resilience, develop strong social skills and much more. These early experiences and the skills your child gains from them will help them throughout their life.

Find out if Ability KC’s therapeutic preschool is right for your child

Preschoolers of all abilities can reach their potential in our inclusive classrooms. We deliver the therapies they need in one supportive environment with structure and consistency. The Mary Shaw Branton Therapeutic Preschool is nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and state licensed.

Experienced teachers can help your child stay social while learning, developing and playing. We’re always here as a resource, even after preschoolers and families reach their goals and desired milestones. Through our strategic focus on transition planning with your family, we’re dedicated to helping children in our care through the next phases of their education and their lives.

We also offer pediatric and adolescent outpatient medical rehabilitation services and seasonal programming for children from birth to 17 years of age. Ability KC is a designated Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility (CORF) with a Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation.

Are you looking for a preschool program for your child? Take a look at our admissions guide and fill out the preschool inquiry form to get started. Contact our team today with any questions.