Parents want to find the best possible caregiver for a child with special needs. They want to be hands-on all the time. But there are times that getting an extra hand to help is practical choice. That was that route that my sister took, who is a single mom.
I was still in college when my sister had her child. She was born with Down Syndrome. I naturally got involved in taking care of her, and I owe that experience for my deeper understanding of taking care of children with special needs.
When my sister decided to hire a caregiver, I understood why she had a tough time deciding on the right one. Finding the person who perfectly fits the role in handling such responsibility is not as easy as looking for the cutest baby bows or dresses. And I was there to lend a hand in the selection process. We were eventually guided by our own experiences with her child and good advice from other parents of children with special needs. We were blessed to find good caregivers. The more experiences we had working with them, the more we gained insights about which caregiver traits worked for us.
Finding the right caregiver started with a needs assessment and our knowledge of my niece’s needs and personality. They helped narrow down the choices and guided us through the interview process. The following caregiver criteria guided our selection process:
Physical and Mental Health
- Healthy, active, and able to keep up with the child’s activities.
- No history of alcohol and drug abuse.
- Physical strength and agility to lift and carry a child when needed.
- Alert and attentive enough to monitor the child and her environment.
- Good personal hygiene and grooming.
- Enjoys working with children with special needs.
- Effective oral and written communication of feedback regarding the child’s progress.
- Interacts well with the child and the rest of the family.
- Respectful and has a keen sense of responsibility.
- Displays professional ethics regarding confidential information
- Handle conflict with emotional maturity, maintains emotion control, and calm disposition.
- Uses good judgement in problem-solving.
- Handles emergencies and unforeseen situations wisely.
- Trained in First Aid and CPR.
- Understands nutritional requirements for children with special needs.
- Has knowledge of child growth and development.
Finding the ideal caregiver for a child with special needs requires the work and involvement of every family member. If needed, parents should seek advice from experts and other parents to find a caregiver with experience, patience, skills, and genuine love and compassion for children with special needs.
Angelica Beers is proud mom in her early 30’s who embraced the life of freelancing just so she could have more cuddle time with her kids. She is a writer at babywisp.com. She loves to write about her motherhood journey, and hopes to travel with her family someday.
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