CHILDREN thrive through play and exploration

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For Sally Youn, getting the care her son needs is like building an intricate jigsaw puzzle.

 Nathan, now 6, was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at 2. Along with sensory processing issues, Nathan is largely non-verbal, has a common autism-related eating disorder, wears diapers and is at a greater risk of wandering away.

 “Any of these things would seem to disqualify Nathan from traditional childcare programs. But Greater Midland has been up for the challenge,” said Sally, who enrolled Nathan in childcare last fall at Longview Early Childhood Center, 337 Lemke St.

 Greater Midland opened its newest Early Care & Education Center at Longview Early Childhood Center last summer, offering full- and half-day care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years.

 The special needs childcare program is a perfect fit for Nathan, who attends morning special education preschool in the same building. Our Greater Midland team works with Nathan’s parents, preschool teacher and therapists to determine how to best meet his needs.

“All of our childcare programs provide a safe, nurturing environment that encourage every child to grow and learn through play and exploration,” said Andrea Secrease, Greater Midland’s director of childcare & early education.

In addition to childcare, Greater Midland offers preschool at its Community Center, North Family Center, Coleman Family Center locations.

The programs are making a difference: 96.8% of children enrolled in Greater Midland programs are meeting their developmental milestones, according to a recent survey.

And it’s making a difference for Nathan.

 “Because we have Greater Midland as a partner, Nathan has a very stimulating and rewarding school day,” Sally said. “He’s actually made friends and is so happy that he doesn’t want to leave at the end of the day. It’s just amazing.”