Tips for Finding Care for Your Special-Needs Child

The need to care for special-needs children may continue into their adult years, and even after the passing of their parents.

The care choices are wide ranging—family, health-care aides, special-care facilities, day programs, and group homes. However, your child’s specific needs and your available financial resources may dictate which is appropriate for your situation.

Family Limits

Family members are a logical first choice for care. However, the physical, financial, and emotional demands must be considered.

Home-health aides can provide respite for family caregivers. You may want to distinguish between individuals who work directly with a family versus those employed by a company, since the former may be less expensive.

In some situations, the relief provided by an aide may allow a family member to earn additional income in excess of the cost of a caregiver.

Some care needs may require an extended care facility.

In any case, there is a wealth of private and public resources available to help you through all phases of securing care for your child.

Ask Questions

Whichever direction you take, you will want to perform due diligence on caregiver candidates.

For individual caregivers, ask about their education, experience, and skills. Do they match your child’s needs? Is the caregiver certified? Pose questions relating to your child’s situation. Be attuned to whether the candidate is empathetic or simply views your child as a job.

Interviewing a care facility is also about gauging competency and compassion. Ask about alleged abuse or neglect. What is the staff-to-patient ratio? Call response time? Is supervision present 24/7? What activities are offered? Does the facility have patients compatible to your child? Is the facility accredited? What’s the staff turnover rate?

In each case, ask for references and contact them.

Stay Involved

Ongoing communication is critical to the caregiver understanding your expectations and meeting them. Set regular meetings with the caregiver and ask questions. Offer to volunteer time or join in activities, which will provide you with a deeper insight into care levels. Participation sends a strong message to your child and the facility.