While searching, it is important to look into the support services that a centre offers Image Credit: Doris Duan-Young Autsm Centre

Every parent wants to ensure that they are giving only the best to their children all the time. It is right and just because after all, their children are the most precious gift that they have ever received. Having said that, here are a few points to help you select a care centre for your child.

1. Training, licensing and credentials

It is essential to conduct a background check about the centre that you want to consider to get services from, learn about their specialty, their approach and making sure it is congruent with the kind of services you want your child to receive. It is important as well to know about the educational background of the professionals to be comfortable with the experience, educational level and licensing credentials of the person who will be involved on your child’s case.

2. Cleanliness

It is a great idea to take a tour of the centre’s facilities. Not only should cleanliness should be a top priority, well-designed and properly followed infection control procedures also help in preventing your child from getting viruses and diseases. Always keep in mind to check if the centre complies with the standards of cleanliness and hygiene that you expect your child to enjoy.

It is important as well to know about the educational background of the professionals to be comfortable with the experience, educational level and licensing credentials of the person who will be involved on your child’s case.

- Johanine Venter

3. Feedback from other people — word of mouth

Hearing positive feedback from other people about a care centre is very important, this will help you to understand if the centre is doing well when rendering services to their clients. Knowing how other clients have benefited from the place you are considering and seen others utilising the same centres cervices for long gives you the comfort that this might be the best centre for your child.

4. Location

Considering that you might need to travel back and forth often during the week, we suggest you consider to think of what is important for you in terms of location, for example you prefer a care centre near your home or if it is more convenient for you to find a place close to your work. Some centres offer transportation services to facilitate the pick and drop off process, this is a great advantage. You might also want to consider that the centre is located in a well maintained and safe area, preferable is specifically designed for the services related to what you are looking for.

5. Additional services

Child’s development should not only depend on how frequent he/she is attending sessions in a care centre.

It is as important to look into the support services the centre can offer, for example training for the parents, care givers and even to the teachers, as it is vital to ensure consistency across all the settings on which the child is growing up.

Another suggestion to parents is to look for a centre that offers the learning support assistant service, a para-professional that is trained to accompany the child to support him/her cope with the school demands and assures continuity of the IEP (Individualised Education Programme) designed for each individual. Always remember that consistency is a very important in the child’s development and the progress shouldn’t stop when they are out of the centre.

The search shouldn’t be limited by the above factors, but it can serve you as guideline to make a precise and wise decision when you are selecting the best facility for your loved one. The cost of the services matters, but keep in mind that going after the cheapest option all the time might not give you all the benefits that you are looking for. Remember that quality is the most important faculty to look for.

Under your care and guidance, along with the help of your well-chosen care centre, your child will grow and be shaped as the best person she/he can ever be.

— The writer is Occupational Therapy Department Head, the Doris Duan-Young Autism Centre, Dubai