Finding A Sitter

Finding a Sitter for Your Child

It comes as no surprise that parenting, especially for a child with autism, can become exhausting and stressful. Without a break every now and then, you could actually put your own health at risk. Therefore, it is important to be able to find a qualified babysitter to care for your child while you take some time off!

Although many families are able to turn to close friends and relatives to look after their children, military families are often unable to take advantage of this option. Other options are available, however.

Whom Should I Contact?

  • Local church, synagogue, or other religious organization.
  • Local Autism Center/ARC Organization.
  • If a college campus is nearby, check its Departments of Education (or Special Education), Psychology, Social Work, and Behavioral Studies.
  • Your child’s school (a familiar teacher or aide).
  • Your child’s pediatrician or specialist (explain that you need respite care for your child–either may be able to put you in touch with the right people).
  • Other parents who have children with special needs.
  • Any trusted adult who has formed a bond with your child.

What Should I Do Once I Find a Sitter?

  • Have the babysitter visit before the actual babysitting date and when you are at home so that your child can meet him or her in a comfortable setting.
  • Train the sitter specifically for your child by watching the sitter interact with your child and giving advice where appropriate.
  • Prepare your child ahead of time by going over the “rules”: how to behave with the sitter, what to expect, and the reassurance that you will come back home.
  • Leave notes and lists to help aid the sitter through the first few visits and always have your cell phone available.
  • Provide the sitter with a “cheat sheet” that includes your child’s schedule/routine, favorite toys and hobbies, favorite foods, any allergies, and any unique behaviors and how to deal with them.
  • Get into a routine so that you, your child, and the sitter become comfortable with each other.

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