INA Weekly Brief

Nannying For The Child With Special Needs

July 31, 2017
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As modern families continue to grow, they have become more prone to hiring professional, experienced nannies to support the day-to-day management of their busy households. As a result, nanny roles have become much more complex and integral to the family dynamic than ever before. Nannies are expected to be more deeply involved in the physical and emotional development of the children, along with managing the basic needs of the kids.

Given the high demand, nannies have become more skilled in how to take care of varying types of children in multiple situations. Furthering their knowledge and continuing their education to include specializations and certifications, today’s modern nanny is well-versed in the intricacies of childcare.

Children with Special Needs

Families who have children with special needs often face different challenges than other families, and as they grow together they develop effective ways to best support and nurture their kids. Families with differently abled children often develop a dynamic support system to ensure that all members of the family are well cared for, respected, challenged, and loved.

As a result of generally busy lifestyles, this amazing family support system is not always available to the families in need of support, so this is where exceptionally talented nannies come in and play a gigantic role.

A nanny for a child with special needs is typically more skilled and often has more experience than their peers.  Children with special needs can have varying communication abilities, dietary concerns, or behavioral differences, depending on the specific situation. No two kids are alike, so although personal experience is extremely helpful for nannies wishing to work with differently abled young ones, it is essential to approach each situation with an open mind and desire to identify what is best for that specific family and child.

Skills Required for a Special Needs Nanny

A nanny hired for taking care of a child with special needs will be expected to exhibit a certain set of skills, and these skills are essential for ensuring the wellbeing of the child. Here are a few skills that parents may look for:

First Aid

This certification is both useful and imperative for any nanny, but most specifically for those wishing to work with differently abled kids. Every state offers some version of first aid certification, and most families will appreciate if not expect this from their nanny. All kids are somewhat accident prone as they are getting accustomed to their growing bodies, so as a nanny you should take every opportunity to educate yourself on how best to protect and react in emergent situations.

Collaboration and Communication

Many children with special needs are in the care of physical and behavioral therapists. Nannies should be able to collaborate and clearly communicate with other professionals on a regular basis, and be comfortable relaying this vital information and feedback to the parents. A proactive, engaged and compassionate nanny can add to the level of support and value that these professionals bring into the kid’s life.

Handling Emergencies

Children with special needs, like any kids, can be involved in an emergency situation at any moment. If the nanny can’t respond in such a crisis situation with their somewhat limited knowledge, they are not an ideal match for a family with specific needs. Once again, pursuing more education and gaining more experience is vital for the nanny to handle emergency situations calmly and responsibly.

Compassionate

A good nanny for a child with special needs will not just work to fulfill their basic duties, they will also work to offer more compassion, love, and support for their charges. These children may be even more vulnerable than other children in social situations or in navigating relationships with their peers, so an excellent nanny will work to develop a close relationship with their charges so that they can effectively support them throughout any situation.  The nanny must acknowledge this additional need and be aware and sensitive towards the situation at hand.

Patience

Children can sometimes test patience because they are high-energy, curious, and can go go GO! However, sometimes children with special needs will push the limits of patience in a different way, which they often cannot control. A nanny must be patient and compassionate in dealing with the child’s behavior and work closely with the parents and therapists to support the child.

Professional Qualifications and Certificates

Children with special needs often have many defined requirements. An untrained person may not be aware or capable of providing the right childcare in such situations. To deal with the specific requirements of such children, there are a variety of professional courses. These courses can develop the skills of the nanny to provide situation-appropriate childcare.

Diet Plans

Some children may need specific, consistent diet plans. The nanny is responsible for taking care of the nutrition of the child for the time they are under their supervision. There are certain courses that train on basic and specific nutrition requirements of children with special needs. Understanding of the nutritional levels can also help if the child is already following a diet plan prescribed by the family doctor.

CPR Certification

A CPR certification will prove that the nanny is medically qualified to perform the procedure if the child requires it. The certification will develop a level of trust and reliability between the family and nanny, and it will also create a peace of mind.

Child Development

There are several child development courses that a nanny wishing to work with differently abled kids can complete. These courses can help the nanny appropriately support the physical and emotional development of the child, from managing their dietary needs to tracking their developmental milestones. In the case of special needs children, these courses are further refined to support the specific demands of these amazing little ones.

Professional Training in Specific Disabilities

Nannies can take a variety of professional courses that are focused on working with specific special needs. For example, there are separate courses that focus on autism, ADHD, and dyslexia respectively. To find these courses, nannies can search for administrators in their local area, and research the validity and reputation of each course. These courses include introduction and understanding of the specific situation, and how to manage the kids with these different needs. With the right knowledge, the nanny will be better equipped to handle a specific child’s situation and effectively support their growth.

Professional courses are not only beneficial for the kids and their families, they make the nanny more confident in how they provide their services, more effective and empowered, and it truly adds to the nannies resume and potential earning power.

A child with special needs, like any child, deserves an unwavering, unconditional + loving support system. If a family is considering hiring a nanny for their childcare, it is vital that the nanny adds genuine, reliable and notable value to this important support system.  A well-trained and exceptionally skilled nanny will be able to positively impact the entire family unit by fully supporting the development of the child.

Nannies around the world can make their profession more fulfilling by empowering themselves with additional education. This pursuit will bring the nanny industry to a new level of excellence, and ultimately change the course of families in need of their support.