Dr. Jenna Weglarz-Ward (UNLV), Dr. Rosa Milagros Santos and doctoral student Jennifer Timmer (Illinois) published the article “Factors That Support and Hinder Including Infants with Disabilities in Child Care” in the Early Childhood Education Journal.
Children with disabilities take part in child care programs across the country every day. However, existing research is lacking on how infants and toddlers with disabilities are supported in these inclusion efforts, particularly from the perspectives of child care and early intervention (EI) providers. In this article, we describe the results of a statewide survey of U.S. child care and EI providers (N = 991; n = 620 child care providers, n = 371 EI providers) on their beliefs and experiences in inclusion and perceived factors that support and hinder the inclusion of very young children with disabilities in child care settings. Our study results indicate that although providers value inclusion and identify many benefits for children, families, and professionals, several barriers exist to effectively implement meaningful inclusion. Despite advances in legislation, policy, and recommended practices, little has changed in the inclusion of infants and toddlers; therefore, recommendations for policy, practice, and research are included. Recommendations include increased training and mentoring for providers and formal inclusion of child care providers in inclusion supported by state policy and continued research.