Nannies for children with extra needs
Every child is demanding at times, but some children require extra help all the time. There is a whole range of reasons why this might be from childhood mental health issues to physical disabilities and the extra needs vary too from child to child, but there are nannies out there who have the right skills and a positive attitude to help.
If you were to come to me looking for an extra needs or special needs nanny who can look after your child, we would need to give it some time and due consideration. Not all nannies will have the skills and attributes you are looking for and due to the special relationship that’s needed in these situations between child and nanny and nanny and parents, it’s essential that you really get to know the candidates before making a decision.
Here are some practical things that you might want to ask about or see listed on a CV:
- First Aid skills
- Previous experience of children with extra needs
- Specific training or qualifications related to your child’s condition or similar conditions
- Diet plans, if necessary.
- Ability to perform CPR if required.
And then at interview, it’s good to ask for examples of where they have demonstrated compassion or patience: if a child struggles to communicate, how have they worked with the child to understand what they’re trying to say without giving up or showing their own frustration? Also, how do they communicate with parents of a child with extra needs? That’s going to be really important if you are out at work or if you need progress reports for your child’s GP or consultant.
Here’s a lovely piece on how rewarding it can be for nannies to care for children with extra needs from a nanny I placed; a great example of how it can work well.
“One of the most rewarding roles I had during my nanny career was when I was appointed to nanny for twin girls, aged two at the time I started.
Like all children, the girls were great fun, cheeky, and full of wonder at the world around them. But unlike other children, the girls had a range of complex needs which made life very different for them. It also made the role of nanny very different too. Being identical twins, I thought their needs would also be identical. However, as I learnt, they were very different in their personalities and needs.
The responsibilities were like many other nanny positions: day to day care, nursery duties, trips out to parks, toddler groups etc. And, as with all nanny positions, the most important job was to care for all of the needs of the children in my charge, ensuring their welfare.
My role was different to normal nanny roles though in so many ways. The girls had various additional appointments that I had to take them to, most often accompanied by one or both of their parents. I was included in these appointments as were all the girls’ carers – a holistic care approach was vitally important to manage the children’s care and development.
The girls also had a dedicated team of developmental experts who we saw several times a week – both at their home and at groups with other children with needs. They engaged in sensory play and equipment which enhanced their life.
Part of my role was to implement the strategies the developmental team put in place, at home daily to help them continue to move forward. This included implementing communication tools such as PECS and Makaton, to physiotherapy and sensory play.
The role was challenging and hard work in so many ways. You have to grow a thick skin especially when you see others looking at them or asking personal questions about them. My mantra became “They are beautiful, sweet girls and just how they were meant to be.” There were heart breaking moments too, such as when epilepsy loomed upon one of the girls.
And the responsibility of medicating the girls correctly was huge (especially when one child was so resistant to taking medicine). It had to be timed correctly and each child needed something different much of the time. It was vital that we all recorded what had been administered and when.
Regardless of its challenges, I truly loved my role with the girls. Some of the milestones they achieved were different from other children, but when they reached them the sense of reward and satisfaction were huge. It often brought me to tears. They may have seemed like small steps to some, but they were huge to these precious children.
I quickly became part of the family and grew very close to the girls’ parents. I supported them in their difficult adjustment to a life that wasn’t what they had hoped or planned for their children.
The girls are now in their twenties (making me feel very old!). They are together still and happy and enjoying their life in their way. Their parents are incredible. They have faced so many tough challenges from the children’s serious health concerns to making decisions about their daughters’ care. I am still part of their lives. I see the family as often as I can and the twins will always hold a very special place in my heart.
If you are looking for a nanny to fit into your family and look after your children with extra needs then please give me a call. I’d love to hear from you and help you find the help you need.