Babysitting For a Disabled Child
Parents of children with disabilities need some time away just like any other parents. Just because a parent has a child with a disability, this does not lessen the parents’ outside commitments. However, it can be difficult to find someone who can care for your child’s specific needs.
For the babysitter, as well, babysitting a disabled child can seem to be an insurmountable task. You may be worried that you are not up to the challenge, that you won’t know what to do in an emergency, and you may be generally afraid of the unknown.
The most important thing for parents of a disabled child and babysitters of disabled children is communication. Each child is unique and has their own special set of needs. Here are some specific things that parents of disabled children can discuss with potential babysitters to help the process go smoothly for everyone:
– First, discuss the child’s specific disability. Make sure that everyone understands exactly what it is that makes the child different, and how it affects the child’s daily life.
– Next, it is useful to discuss safety issues. If there are activities that the child cannot engage in due to safety concerns, make a list of them that the babysitter can keep close at hand.
– Discuss things that the child can do. For example, a child in a wheelchair may be able to pull himself up to the counter to get a snack. The babysitter should clearly understand the sorts of things that the child is able to do by himself.
– Talk about things that the babysitter can do that will help make life easier for the disabled child. Does she need help going to the bathroom? 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 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.