If you have a special needs child at home, your babysitting needs are different from those of other parents.
A special needs child requires, love, affection and attention just like other children, but the degree of attention and care they need is certainly is more than the other children and may differ according to the disability that the child may suffer. As a parent of a special need child, you are aware that you need to give more time and attention to your differently able child than you would to your normal children. Special need children demand more of you as they are unable to do everything on their own and are dependent upon others to a certain degree. The amount of dependence may vary according to the type and the severity of the disability of the child as well as the child’s age and personal capabilities.
The disabilities may be mental or physical. They could range from mild, where the child is somewhat self-dependent and needs someone just to keep an eye on things, to severe, where the child is unable to do anything on his/her own and needs assistance for even the most mundane of tasks.
Taking care of a special needs child can be extremely stressful for the parents who, not only have to deal with the physical strain of looking after the child but also the emotional strain of seeing a loved one less than whole. Caring constantly and trying to meet all the demands of a dependent person can be extremely taxing on the carer. We have already discussed this in a previous post on caregiver burnout and the consequences of taking care of someone who is dependent upon you.
Need For a Babysitter
When it is your own special needs child who needs constant care and patience, the stress can be tremendous for some parents and may lead to a complete burnout. This situation can be avoided by hiring a babysitter specializing in looking after special needs children.
Also, having a special needs child can also add to your financial burden, which may necessitate working to make the ends meet. With both the parents working, it becomes imperative to have someone take care of the child. In some cases, the children are happy to go to a child care center where they can interact with other children, but this is not true for all children. Such children, who either do not want to go to child care or are unable to go there because of their disabilities, may require specialized homecare and babysitter.
As you are aware, your special needs child requires extra care, warmth, love and patience to deal with. So, when you are looking for a babysitter for your special needs child, you have to look for someone who has experience and qualifications to deal with the particular disability from which your child suffers.
Child With Special Needs Babysitting Basics
Any babysitter who is caring for a special needs child has to be aware that it is a child they are dealing with, and one who has the same basic needs as any other child. They need to be loved, cared for appreciated, fed, cleaned and dressed like any other child. But, then their needs may be more than others as they may require supervision or assistance with basic functions like, eating, drinking, going to the loo, taking medication etc. Most special needs children require more time and patience to learn new things or skills. They may need to practice more before grasping a skill and require a little more love, understanding and encouragement.
The babysitter also needs to be aware that each child with special needs is unique. Their disabilities are unique and hence their needs are unique. What works for one special needs child may not be appropriate for another. The needs of a child with mobility impairment are completely different from those of a child with visual impairment. Similarly, a child with Autism has completely different requirements to that of a child with ADHD. So the babysitter should know how to deal with the child properly according to the disability from which the child suffers.
Knowledge of basic first aid is extremely handy in case of special needs children. They are more likely to have accidents that may require treatment more often than normal children. Also, some special needs children may be on medication and the babysitter may have to administer these to the child. A background of nursing or therapy is useful when babysitting special needs children. This experience can also be useful in solving problems that parents may face while caring for the child.
Babysitters and child carers spend a lot of time with children and notice the delayed onset of a development milestone. A special needs child carer needs to be even more vigilant regarding the progress and development of the child entrusted into their care. Their observations can be invaluable in dealing with and treating the disability of the child.
Communication and Coordination
It is extremely important that there is proper communication and coordination between the parents and the child carer or babysitter of a child with special needs. These children need care and consistency as well as punctuality in their routine which has to be communicated between the two. A lack of coordination could lead to a disruption in the routine of the child and cause a considerable amount of distress to the child.
The parents should create a routine that has to be followed and communicate it to the babysitter so that she is aware of it.
The parents should make a list of all the medication that the child needs and the timings when it needs to be given. This list should be placed in a prominent place so that the babysitter can consult it and give the child his medicine on time.
The parents need to communicate all the limitations and degree of disabilities of a child to the carer so they know what to expect and how to deal with it.
All physical difficulties need to be mentioned to the babysitter. Whether the drawback is of mobility, dexterity, speech, hearing or communication, the babysitter should be told at the outset. There should be no surprises in store for the carer. If there is a medical condition that requires special attention that too should be discussed with the babysitter before hiring.
If the child is given to tantrums and mood swings, the babysitter needs to be aware of it.
If you are using any special equipment or aids for your child, you need to know whether the babysitter can handle it or not. In case the carer is unfamiliar with it, then you need to teach her.
Whether the child is toilet trained or not has to be mentioned to the babysitter. If toilet training is required, the babysitter should be told so in advance.
Finding a Babysitter For a Special Needs Child
The best place to look for a babysitter for a special needs child is within the immediate friend and family circle. Such carers are likely to be more patient and understanding in dealing with your child. But not all friends or family members can be trusted to care for your special child. You need to find someone who loves the child despite the disabilities, is not queasy about dealing with disabilities. Whoever you pick has to be someone your child loves and trusts. If the child is uncomfortable or extremely difficult with a carer, then you need to find someone to replace him/her. Another place to look for would be child care centers, especially those that have experience with special needs children. There may be someone in the staff who may be willing to help you out when you wish to take a break and need someone to take care of your child.
Other resources could also include, your child’s school, therapist and hospital. These places are bound to have specialists who can help you out occasionally or guide you to the right person.
There are many babysitting and child care agencies in Dubai. Many of these agencies also have babysitters who are qualified to take care of children with special needs. If you are having trouble locating one in your immediate social and family circle, you could also look for babysitters online. One of the best resources for domestic services providers in Dubai is help4u.today. It is an online aggregator of domestic service providers in Dubai. It has a list of agencies that provide a plethora of services. Whether you need a maid, a cleaner or a babysitter, you can be sure to find the right agency with the right person at the most attractive price on help4u.today.
If you are interested in learning more about babysitting and child care, keep tuned into our blog. We post new interesting topics every week. So keep reading.