How to Choose a Nanny for Your Child With Special Needs

Having a nanny provide one-on-one care for your child with special needs can be a true blessing to your family. She can deliver hands on childcare, offer household support, be an important connection between home and school, and contribute to the team of professionals devoted to helping your child. But how do you find the right candidate? How do you know if a person will be successful in your position? Here are a few questions to ask when considering different candidates.

Does she have a connection to your child? There are many things that make a great special needs nanny. Nothing is more important than a positive connection between your child and nanny. Sometimes this happens right away. Sometimes it takes a while for the connection to develop. So how do you know during the interview stage if that connection is there? It is hard to tell because your child and your potential nanny don’t have a lot of time to spend together. But even from the beginning, you often see a spark. Plus, a big factor is the nanny’s willingness to do whatever she needs to do in order to make that connection. Ask her about the other children with special needs that she’s worked with and how she connected with them. Talk with her about your child’s personality and get her ideas on how she could work best with him. If the nanny has a true love of kids, is comfortable with special needs and is willing to work to build a relationship with your child, chances are she’ll be able to build a great connection with him.

Does she have relevant training? All nannies should have some training, including CPR/first aid certification and an understanding of basic child development knowledge. For nannies wanting to care for children with special needs, the nanny should have additional training to help her understand and effectively work with your child. This may include additional medical training, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) training or a variety of other specialized training. This training will help the nanny understand the unique challenges your child is facing and give her the skills she needs to help him. If you are interviewing a great nanny that doesn’t have the training she needs, consider enrolling her in helpful courses. It will help both the nanny and your child.

Does she have the right kind of personality to work with kids with special needs? All nannies need to have a positive attitude, a true love of children, flexibility, patience and a problem solving outlook. Nannies who work with special needs children have to have all those traits in spades. They also need to be undaunted by failure, be able to think outside the box for new solutions or approaches, and have a willingness to learn and adapt. Not all nannies are well suited for these positions. Talk with each candidate about how she’ll tackle the challenges that come with the job

Is the nanny a team player? When you have a child with special needs, your nanny will need to work closely with you, the school and other professionals that help your child. Being a team player is a requirement. Hire someone that understands the need to openly communicate with everyone else on the team, who is open to learning new ways of doing things, who can make recommendations based on her experiences with your child, and who can effectively work side by side with you and other professionals. Talk with her about these issues during the interview and also cover this issue when talking with her references.

Can she be a support person for you? Working as a nanny involves hands on childcare, but it also includes household tasks that support the parents. These can consist of laundry, meals, grocery shopping, errands, household organization and keeping the schedule up to date. You may need extra support in some nontraditional ways. Before you begin your nanny search, create a list of the ways she can support you and incorporate those things into your job description. Candidates may not be willing to take them all on, but it’s always worth talking about your needs. The right candidate will be willing to pitch in and help you manage the extra work that often comes with parenting a child with special needs. It’s also important that your nanny supports you emotionally. She shouldn’t be your only support person, but it’s important that she understands your challenges and is willing to support you in your parenting choices.

Guest Post from: http://www.findananny.net/blog/how-to-choose-a-nanny-for-your-child-with-special-needs/

 

Hiring the Perfect Nanny

When a family decides to hire someone to care for their child with special needs, they are making an important decision that could have lasting effects on the child and the family as a whole.  When a family engages PFC to assist in this process, we understand the monumental importance of this decision and do our very best to not only offer our support and guidance, but to provide each family with access to some of the best and the brightest special needs caregivers in the industry.  Through our collective experiences, we have learned some of the key aspects of hiring the perfect nanny. 

1.   Ask the Right Questions

Not only should a family ask general questions about the Candidate's past experiences, the family should also ask targeted questions about the family's current dynamics.  The goal of these behavior-specific interview questions is to ascertain how the Candidate will respond to the specific needs of the family.  During PFC's initial interview with the family, our team will help the family develop goals for the Candidate and create specific questions aimed at the family's needs. 

2.  Meet the Children!

Some families prefer to interview Candidates while the children are not around.  While we respect the family's decision, we advise against it.  It is vitally important for each Candidate to spend some quality time with each child and for the parents to observe the Candidate's interaction with the children.  Without having these moments, the parents are potentially setting the Candidate up for failure.  

3. Match the Specific Skills and Training 

Because families choose PFC to assist in their childcare needs, families will interview only candidates that have the specific skills and experiences that match the needs of the child.  If the child has autism, for example, PFC will send the family Candidates who have training in ABA therapy and other developmental modalities.  Even though all Candidates will be fully qualified, families are encouraged to inquire into the Candidates specific training to ensure their needs are met. 

Our Selective Screening Process - What Do We Look For?

When we advertise a position for one of our clients, we contact roughly 10% of the candidates that send us applications.  We are very selective in our screening process and closely scrutinize the qualifications and skills of the professionals that seek to work as a Specialized Nanny through our agency. 

Skills that Stand Out

Depending on the need of our client, we look for the following qualifications when evaluating Candidates:

  1.  Advanced Degrees  - Probably the first qualification we examine is the candidates educational background.  We seek candidates with bachelors and masters degrees in applicable fields such as social work, psychology, child and family development, special education, general education, mental and behavioral disorders, and other relevant fields.  It is our belief that candidates with the appropriate educational background have gained the requisite knowledge to work directly with children who have special needs. 

2. Direct One-On-One Experience  We also look for candidates who have direct experience working one-on-one with children who have special needs.  For example, if the client has a child with autism, we will look for candidates that have worked directly with children who have autism or other similar developmental disorders.  

3. Specialized Training  - Many of our clients have children that require specialized training to care for them. This includes ABA training for children with autism, behavioral intervention training, NVCPI (non-violent crisis prevention intervention training), American Sign Language, and other general behavioral and therapeutic strategies

4. Life Experience  - It is also important to us (and our clients) that candidates have some life experience, whether in the form of studying abroad, travelling, mission work, or some other form of cultural training.  We seek candidates that are well-rounded individuals and have a centered sense of purpose and a passion for working with children who have special needs. 

5. Passion for Working With Children Who Have Special Needs  - Lastly, we seek candidates who have a passion for working with children who have special needs.  We see our mission, and the candidates role as a professional opportunity for individuals with a passion for this kind of work to make a difference in the life of a special child and their family.  Through this passion, we seek to develop long-lasting relationships with all of our candidates and clients.