Rather than rely on child care centers specifically designed for youngsters with special needs, one Memphis hospital is helping to include such children within local programs.

In a unique move, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is partnering with a number of child care providers throughout the region who have agreed to include children with autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities within their programs.

Under the agreement, kids with special needs are enrolled just like any other child. But they get extra help from a nurse who’s on hand to address medical needs and an “inclusion facilitator” who works to ensure the program is accessible.

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Parents pay for the child care program, but the extra assistance is offered at no charge using state funds for early intervention.

Parents and hospital officials say the partnership model is a win-win, offering children with special needs an opportunity to socialize and learn from their peers while giving typically developing kids an opportunity to understand differences, reports The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. To read more click here.