Babysitting For a Child with Learning Disabilities

Babysitting a child with learning disabilities can be a daunting task, even for an experienced babysitter. At the same time, parents of a child with learning disabilities may find it difficult to find a willing babysitter.

The most important thing for parents of a child with learning disabilities and their babysitters is communication. Each child is unique and has their own special set of needs. Here are some specific things that parents of learning disabled children can discuss with potential babysitters to help the process go smoothly for everyone:

– First, discuss the child’s specific learning disability. Make sure that everyone understands exactly what it is that makes the child different, and how it affects the child’s daily life. Some learning disabilities are more severe than others, and can impact one child very differently than it does another child.

– Talk about specific ways to help communicate with the learning disabled child. It may be that he responds best when you have eye contact with the child; Or, it may be important to speak at a measured pace to the child. If so, it is important for the babysitter to know these kinds of details.

– Talk about things that the babysitter can do that will help make life easier for the disabled child. Does she need to be given instructions in sets of one or two, rather than several at a time, for example? Walk through the steps together of some of these basic tasks.

– Talk about emergency procedures. The babysitter should have access to all of the important medical contact information regarding the child in case of an emergency.

In some cases, a parent may not be able to utilize a traditional babysitter for their disabled child. In these cases, “respite” services may be available. These programs provide babysitting and childcare services for parents who have severely learning disabled children. Check with your local health department or other organization, such as Easter Seals, to find out if respite services are available in your area. Often, a little bit of this type of research can pay off very well.


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