How should child care program staff handle a situation in which a child is being teased and excluded because of a disability? 

Providers should be proactive in working with all children on the social skills they need to help develop friendships.  It is especially helpful to work on discussing emotions, talking about the differences that make each person unique and understanding and being sensitive to another person’s feelings.  They should promote social interactions and peer partnerships all with the goal of teaching positive social skills.  Providers should model appropriate behavior and reinforce positive behavior.  All of these activities should help reduce the amount of teasing and help all children to develop friendships.  If teasing does occur, the providers should not overreact.  They should calmly ask why the teasing happened and remind them that we don’t hurt our friends.  Facilitate having the child tell the child who did the teasing that their words hurt their feelings. Providers should continue to reinforce positive social skills and behaviors and make sure that all children get some special time to spend with each child during the week.