Finding a Nanny for a Child with Autism

April 2, 2015

 At CanadianNanny we see job-postings for children with Autism on a regular basis. and 65% of our nannies state that they are interested in caring for children with special needs. Our feedback from nannies is that these positions can be challenging but very rewarding.  When looking for a caregiver for your child, here are 10  things to keep in mind to help your nanny search:


1)  Give yourself lots of time , but not too much time. If you don’t need a nanny for another 7 months, now is way too soon to start looking. Most caregivers don't even know their schedules that far in advance.  The recommended timing for a live out nanny is about 2 months in advance. If you are looking for a live in nanny, start looking about 4-5 months in advance.


2) When describing your position, you want to provide detail... but again, not too much. The details you want to give about the job are things like hours, duties, location, rate, requirements, and expectations.  Stating the degree of your child’s communication and development level is great, but stating every issue can be overwhelming to a potential nanny. These details are better left for the interview, when a caregiver can meet you and your child in person.


3) Focus on finding a nanny that is the best fit for your child and you. We see parents listing educational requirements rather than caregiving qualities to find a caregiver. A caregiver that is very keen to learn about and help your child is always the best match.


4) If certain qualifications are very important to you, offer to provide additional training (ie: First Aid, Autism workshops, etc).  Your child is unique, so you may find a caregiver without previous training is easier to mold to your specific requirements.


5) When interviewing candidates, ask specific scenario questions related to your child.  “My child will only eat things that are soft…what would you prepare for him” or “She screams really loud and runs when she hears sirens…how would you handle that”.  Finding out what their instinct are is very helpful.


6) Be upfront about issues when you meet the caregiver. If your son is still in diapers at the age of 4 or throws tantrums regularly, it is important for them to know this in advance.  You want your caregiver to succeed and be able to form a connection with your child, so they need to be prepared for any hurdles.


7) Prepare your child to meet the caregiver, but don’t expect they will interact during the interview. This is best saved for a trial day.


8) Expect to pay a higher wage - this depends on your area, but you will likely need to pay at least 20% more than a parent who has a child without Autism.


9) Do not expect the nanny to do a lot of extra chores around the home, if your child requires additional care.  Remember, you want a caregiver who is child-focused anyway and who can engage them intellectually.  All the extra things like vacuuming and dusting will only take their attention away from your child.


10) Do many trial days …that are paid of course. Do them very gradually, especially if your child is not good with change. Be available for questions after, so the caregiver has a chance to become more familiar with your child's needs.  


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