Friday, October 24, 2008

The Daycare Question

We're trying to sort out what to do about daycare next year. We were working under the assumption that we would enroll Ben in the oral-deaf daycare and preschool up at Buffalo Hearing and Speech Clinic. Their daycare program is for kids from 18 months to 3 years, so Ben would start there next summer. The upside is that they have a terrific program. The downside is that it's an hour away from where we live. So it was going to be pretty difficult to get him up there and back with both my husband and me working full time, but we had figured out some possibilities for handling that.

At Ben's last programming appointment at NYU, the communication evaluation team said that he was doing great and that if he continues on this track, he would be better off in a mainstream daycare (where he would have hearing role models) rather than a special one. This is great news, of course, but we're trying to decide what to do about it. In so many ways, it would be a lot more convenient to have him here in town with us, assuming we can find a high-quality daycare program that can take him, rather than driving for two hours every day (especially through those south-of-Buffalo "persistent snow bands"). On the other hand, we don't want him to fall behind on language development. The program in Buffalo has the expertise and structure to monitor his progress and address any delays or problems that become apparent.

Furthermore, it's not going to be easy to get a good daycare placement for him here in town. There's a great facility on campus, and we got him on the waiting list before he was born (not knowing that he would have special needs), but they don't take children under two. We're not comfortable with the idea of dropping off a toddler who wears thousands of dollars worth of equipment on his head at any daycare. Not only would the staff need to be vigilant about the equipment, but we would want for them to give him the same language-rich environment that we've been providing at home. Most daycare programs do a fine job of getting the kids through the day, but it's an awful lot to ask of their overworked, underpaid staff to meet Ben's needs. Good daycare is difficult to come by, especially in our small town.


fethiye said...

this is our worry now, too. My parents are arriving tomorrow night, I will go back to work next week and will work until they leave (end of Jan). Then I will take another 2.5 months off and we will need to decide what to do then...

Julia said...

If you can find a good daycare facility nearby, don't be afraid to put him there. Kathy put Megan in a good program when she was less than a year, and she really benefitted from it -- the structure and the socialization are great, especially for an only child.