How To Get A Special Needs Nanny Job

A child laughing in the sun

Children with special needs have a unique way of seeing the world. They love freely and are filled with wonder. For the right nanny, caring for a special needs child is deeply rewarding. Working with special needs kids is an exciting career if you’re a nanny who wants to make a difference.

But what exactly is a special needs nanny, and how do you become one? 

Understanding “special needs”

What does special needs actually mean? Special needs covers a broad spectrum of different abilities, from mild to severe. Children with special needs have conditions that impact them physically, emotionally, or behaviorally.

They might have physical differences, communication delays, or disorders. They could have a diagnosed condition like Cerebral Palsy, Autism, ADHD, or Down’s Syndrome. Anxiety disorders and ADHD also fall under special needs. 

Caring for a child with special needs requires love, patience, and knowledge - just like any child. Parents need a special needs nanny who understands their child’s specific issues. This is especially important if the child has a complex condition.

To find jobs working with special needs near me, check out Nanny Lane.

Identifying the qualities of a special needs nanny

Nannies offer unwavering love and guidance to children and invaluable support to parents. But nannies pursuing special needs jobs need:

  • A passion for children with complex needs. Taking care of kids can be stressful and exhausting. With the additional physical and emotional demands of special needs jobs, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. As a special needs nanny, you’re committed to supporting the child and their family. But you also need coping strategies. This includes setting healthy boundaries with the family to leave time for self-care. Exercise, meditation, and nature help to manage stress in special needs jobs.
  • Patience. Caring for kids requires patience —even more so when a child has special needs. The special needs nanny is open-minded and compassionate. Daily routines can be unpredictable with a child who is differently-abled. The nanny understands the child’s unique challenges and structures the day around their needs.  
  • Grace under pressure. A special needs nanny has a deep respect for children. When the unexpected happens, nannies working in special needs jobs respond with patience and understanding. 

Taking certifications and courses

A child with special needs requires specialized care. The type and kind of nanny training depends on the level of complication of the condition. If you don’t have experience, talk to the family about covering the costs of additional courses if they hire you.

To care for children with serious needs, you might need more training. Children with special needs are often more vulnerable than other kids. Parents need to know you’ll act fast if their child has a medical emergency.

To be successful in a special needs job, you need the following:  

  • CPR. A CPR certificate means you can perform a medical procedure if necessary. While every nanny needs CPR, it’s essential when caring for special needs children. If a child lacks communication skills and is in trouble, you need to know what to look for.  
  • First Aid. All nannies need first aid, especially when working with special needs children. A special needs nanny has to remain calm and act quickly in an emergency. This will be the first certification a family requests. You can find first aid courses in every state.
  • Specialty training. Working in special needs jobs requires training to support the child’s growth. The more significant the need, the more specific the course. Extra education boosts your confidence and gives parents peace of mind with any special needs nanny jobs. Specialty courses look impressive on a resume and can help you earn more.

Learning about the child  

During the interview, ask lots of questions to learn more about the children and their abilities. Be sure to ask questions like:

  • Could you describe your child’s routine?
  • Does your child have any behavioral issues? If so, what are they? 
  • Does your child have any medical needs? 
  • Does your child take medicine? And if so, what is the schedule?
  • Does your child have any allergies or dietary restrictions?

Creating open communication with parents 

If you get the nanny job, talk to the family about the child’s particular needs. It’s important to get on the same page to provide the best care possible. 

No detail is too small.

Will you need to prepare special foods? Does the child have daily medication? If so, have the parents show you proper dosing. Do they have allergies or food sensitivities? Who should you contact in case of a medical or behavioral emergency? 

You’ll also want several non-emergency contacts. Include specialists and the names of select family and friends. If the child goes to physical or behavioral therapy, you’ll need to share updates and progress with parents. 

Special needs nanny jobs can be labor-intensive. They leave little room for extras like cleaning or cooking. Set expectations early with a nanny contract to avoid conflict down the line. 

Setting yourself up for success

If the family doesn’t suggest a nanny trial, ask for one. It’s essential for special needs nanny jobs. You can also build a nanny contract. Consider nanny payroll too - get paid on-time with one less thing for you and the family to think about. 

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