The Bigger the Risk, The Bigger the Reward
It doesn’t take extra special skills to care for kids with special needs. It just takes a little common sense, patience, and caring — characteristics most nannies already have.
I babysit for a severely autisic girl some weekends and the mother says it has been impossible to find another nanny or babysitter willing to spend a few hours with her daughter so she can get out every once in awhile.
I feel if caregivers would just take a risk and try working for a family with a child with disabilities they would find the work very satisfying. But, too many nannies and babysitters are too scared to try caring for a child requiring special needs. I honestly don’t find caring for a child with physical or emotional handicaps any more difficult than working for any other child. Every child is unique. Every child has challenges. Plus, there is good in every child — even those requiring extra care.
Working with children with special needs is a great resume builder too. Whether you choose to continue working as a nanny or exploring a career in special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy the hands-on experience of working directly with children helps you stand out from job candidates that have only learned in a classroom from a textbook.
Working with children with disabilities gives caregivers a greater sensitivity for the difficulties special children and adults have in society and an appreciation for your good health as well. It is the growth in sensitivity and a sense of pride that emerges from caring for those with disabilities that eventually provides nannies with the biggest reward.