How to support the parents of the other children in OSHC

A continuation of part two in the IncludED@OSHC learning journey, relationships and families.

You may encounter a parent of another child who is worried about children with complex disabilities using your service.

They may be concerned about safety risks, and whether their child will still get the right amount of care.

To address these concerns, discuss the policies and strategies that have been put in place to support all children. Emphasise the benefits to their child of being in an environment that includes children with complex disabilities. And remain open to feedback and suggestions from the parent.

Conversations like this are an opportunity to change the perspective of the parent from one of concern and negativity to positivity and support for inclusion. They can take place without compromising the privacy of the child with a disability and their family.

Tips on what you could say to parents with concerns

Parent's concern: my child would not get the support they need if the staff are focused on children with complex disabilities.

Suggested response: explain the staffing mix and ratios, and how they have been set up so staff can balance running the broader program and providing extra support to any children where needed.

Parent's concern: my child would not get the support they need if the staff are focused on children with complex disabilities.

Suggested response: explain the staffing mix and ratios, and how they have been set up so staff can balance running the broader program and providing extra support to any children where needed.

Parent's concern: my child's safety is at risk by including children with complex disabilities. My younger, smaller child could be hurt by an older, larger child who has previously displayed behaviours of concern.

Suggested response: explain your risk-management planning process, and how staff identify hazards and risks, assess potential impacts and put strategies in place to manage or reduce these risks. Explain your response plans if an identified risk occurs.

Parent's concern: the program or activities may not suit my child's abilities and interests if they have been designed to suit the needs of children with complex disabilities.

Suggested response: explain how you plan programs and activities to be inclusive of all needs and that every activity is designed to be flexible so every child can participate. Give an overview of the unprogrammed play activities that give children the chance to pick and choose their own tasks. Explain how their child can practise and develop their leadership skills by helping guide a child with a complex disability through an activity.

Example of building family confidence

Potential concern: concern that their child would not get the support they need at OSHC if the educators are focused on children with complex disabilities.

Suggested response: communicate the OSHC staffing mix and ratios, and how these have been set to make sure staff are able to balance running the broader OSHC program and providing additional support to any children where needed.

Potential concern: concern that the safety of their child is at risk by including children with complex disabilities at the OSHC. For example- a concern that their younger, smaller child could be hurt by an older, larger child who has previously displayed behaviours of concern.

Suggested response: communicate the OSHC risk management planning process, and how staff identify hazards and risks, assess potential impacts, and put strategies in place to manage or reduce these risks. Communicate the response plans the OSHC has put in place if an identified risk occurs.

Potential concern: concern that the program or activities at OSHC may not suit their child’s abilities and interests if they have been designed to suit the needs of children with complex disabilities.

Suggested response: communicate the OSHC program planning process, and how staff design activities to be inclusive of all needs. Explain that each activity is designed to be flexible, so each child can participate. Overview of the available play equipment and activities that exist outside of the program planned activity, where children can pick and choose their own tasks. Communicate the opportunity for their child to practice and develop their leadership skills by partnering with and helping guide a child with a complex disability through an activity.