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Finding care for a child with Spina Bifida

Everyone loves children. As a matter of fact, all animals are genetically coded to protect and fawn over children. Unfortunately, this may not be the case when it comes to a child with special needs.

A child who has special needs often needs special, and targeted, care. This makes it difficult to find someone who understands how to care for the child properly and it increases your anxiety when trying to find someone to care for them when you can’t be there. No matter what the disability, your child needs a nanny, babysitter daycare provider who understands the needs, is willing to provide whatever your child requires and is competent (i.e. has the training necessary or can accept instruction from you).

Children born with Spina Bifida are as unique and diverse as any other group of children. The condition affects every child differently, so the parents (you) are the best advocates…really, the only true advocates. Because your child has needs that no other child has, you need to understand exactly how to care for him or her.

The good news is that it is possible to find responsible, well-trained caregivers for your child. Babysitting for a child with Spina Bifida or providing more constant nanny care is difficult. In this case, as with most special needs care, the proposed caregiver needs to understand the challenges of working with this population, but they also need to meet your expectations. Finding someone who meets both criteria is not impossible if you know what you are looking for from the outset.

Let’s explore what needs to be done during your search for a qualified childcare provider for your child with Spina Bifida.

The most important needs for a child with Spina Bifida

  • What specific needs does your child have? Many children who have Spina Bifida require catheterization due to bladder issues. Your child may also have a shunt that requires special care or skin problems that the caregiver will have to know about. Write a list of all the daily medical necessities your child has so that you can share them with potential caregivers. The caregiver also needs to know about special toys that calm your child down, routines you have developed that make life easier and all other nonessential tasks that improve your child’s quality of life (such as a special park or garden spot, or a neighbors pet of which the child is particularly fond).
  • What are you requirements? Safety is probably a primary concern as it is with most parents. This individual will be in your home, with your child while you are away, so ensuring the personal security for your child (children) and your possessions is paramount. But there may be a list of requirements. Make sure that the proposed babysitter/nanny understands your needs as well as those of the special needs child.
  • Appropriate contact numbers. It is obvious that the caregiver will need to know your cell number, work number (those of each spouse), but what other numbers may be required. Police, fire and hospital may come to mind, but make sure they know the number for the poison control center also (there is a national 800 number). What about doctors. You may think that you will be the first call, so you can speak to doctors, but what if an emergency occurs and the caregiver needs to contact a doctor. The nanny may also be home when the child needs a therapy appointment, so peripheral numbers for situations that may arise are important also. A final list may include close friends or relatives that can help in a pinch if you or your spouse are unavailable.

Choosing a babysitter for Spina Bifida

What does he or she look like (though it is true that most caregiver applicants will be women, men are starting to see caregiving as a viable career choice more often in recent years)? That doesn’t mean physical appearance, but the personality type you desire. Your child may respond better to one gender or another; a more authoritarian style may give you piece of mind rather than someone who seems too nice. Think about the person you want taking care of your child.

When interviewing make sure that the person brings information so that they can undergo a background check (if you want to vet them). You can either hire a company to do the check or use a local police department. Criminal and financial background checks are necessary to establish past and present character.

Discuss education and experience. The traditional babysitter is 13 years old, gaining her first occupational experience and is more interested in friends than your child. Someone with experience in the field is probably a better fit. Find out who they have worked for before, what type of education they have gotten relative to the job and whether the applicant has references from previous employers. This is a serious job interview. Your child deserves the best care possible and you are their advocate. Make sure you properly vet all applicants.

This is going to be difficult. Your child is special; not because of his or her needs necessarily, but because they are your child. Understand your expectations and perform your search for a babysitter/nanny with all diligence. Make sure that this person has the credentials, personality and confidence needed to be a caregiver for a child with Spina Bifida.