How to Find a Babysitter or Nanny with Special Needs Experience

When searching for a qualified babysitter, every parent is looking for a sitter to provide safe, loving, and quality care. However, if your child has special needs, you may require a babysitter with additional skills, experience, and knowledge to better understand your child’s specific challenges and different needs. Whether it be a private nanny, a daycare center, or a special needs babysitter these care providers can be much harder to find and often more costly.

We are here to help you navigate the ins and out’s of finding a special needs babysitting service or caregiver that you require. In the following guide, we’ll outline the best suggestions on where to find a qualified babysitter near you, as well as some things to consider during the decision-making process.

When choosing a qualified babysitter, every parent looks for someone providing safe, loving, and quality care.

Contact Trusted Sources and Communities

The best place to start your search for special needs babysitting is among individuals and groups who are in the know. Subscribing to special-needs community and support groups will connect you to a wealth of information about local resources. Even if agencies who specialize in special needs development can’t help you directly, they will generally be able to refer you in the right direction. Consider contacting some of the following organizations for possible referrals:

Keep in mind that just because someone else found a provider perfect for their situation, the same provider might not suit your needs. You still need to take extra care to assess each referral and determine that it suits exactly what you require.

Check Reputable Online Sources

Besides friends, family, and community resources, there are also many reputable websites with information about caregivers and daycare centers that can be helpful. Examples include but are not limited to:

Looking through chats, forums, FAQs, resource guides, and blogs on these websites can offer you valuable information and the chance to connect with a variety of helpful professionals and like-minded parents who have similar family needs.

Considering non-vetted services from faceless internet sources can have challenges in themselves, so always use trustworthy platforms and check references. When thinking of looking for a special-needs babysitter online consider the following:

  1. Check that the candidate has the correct certificates to confirm their qualifications, skills, and knowledge. This may include child development, therapy, and CPR training.
  2. Find out if the candidate has experience dealing with the type of special assistance your child requires.
  3. When you meet the candidate, ask questions related to activities, discipline methods, how they handle transitions, nutrition, and medication administration.
  4. Get formal references from the candidate for past or current customers.
  5. Always contact the references to obtain an accurate evaluation.

Ask Your Therapist

If you have a child with special needs or differing abilities, you have probably worked with different types of therapists throughout your child’s life. These professionals already know your child’s specific needs and may be well qualified to recommend a suitable special needs babysitter or nanny for your child.  Keep in mind that many of these referrals may be specialized individuals and this can often cost you a little more since they likely have professional training and have been approved by a reputable source.

Look for a daycare center that positively recognizes each child's ability, interest, and unique experiences.

Special Needs Day Care Services

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requires daycare services to provide children and parents with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in child-care programs and services without any discrimination. They are not allowed to refuse admission of a child due to a disability. Instead, daycare centers should evaluate the child's individual needs and determine if reasonable accommodations can be made for them. To determine the suitability of a daycare center for your child, consider their communication and socialization ability, as well as medical fragility.

Also, take the time to observe what the child-care environment is like. Look for a place that positively recognizes each child's ability, interest, and unique experience. Three key aspects to assess are safety, structure, and discipline. Consider:

  1. Whether the environment is safe for your child's abilities
  2. Whether the environment is too restrictive or free-flowing for your child's abilities, and
  3. How the provider might handle behavioral or physical challenges characteristic of your child's disability or special need.

Special Needs Babysitting Solutions

Before you commit to a daycare center or special needs babysitter, arrange a trial period to test if the sitter is a good fit for your family. Be observant during this time and always trust your gut. Observe both your child's and the sitter's interactions and behavior. Your provider should never be reluctant to give information about your child's progress.

Nanno offers an incredible time-saving solution to finding vetted and reviewed child-carers. Whether you need a full-time carer or after-school babysitting, you can find candidates in your area at the touch of a button. Find out how it works and start your special needs babysitter search.

Sign-up for an All-in-One Babysitting App

Babysitting apps like Nanno allow you to find specialized and qualified babysitters in your area at the drop of a hat. Not only does this cut down on time and effort on your part, but you can also rest assured that babysitters and nannies listed on the site will already have undergone a thorough vetting process. All sitters listed on Nanno need to pass an in-depth 4-step screening process. This process verifies their skill sets, qualifications, behavioral aspects, and ascertains they are trustworthy, punctual, and experienced. The screening process also includes national and county-level criminal searches, as well as social security number tracing.

The process does not stop once babysitters are listed, as they are continually rated by parents on the app. Any troublesome behavior can result in the suspension of the sitter on the platform.

Another feature of Nanno that is extremely helpful is the ability to chat with your special needs babysitter before and during your booking via the app. This means you can get instant updates on how your child is doing during the day.

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About Liz Oertle
Denver, CO
Liz Oertle is the CEO and co-founder of Nanno. A recovering attorney and mother of two, she is passionate about helping parents connect with high quality childcare on demand.