Autism Interview Questions to Ask Sitters

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Caring for children can be a roller coaster, but no parent wants the babysitter/nanny interview process to be quite so adventurous -- nor does it have to be.

Because hiring a caregiver for a child with special needs such as autism requires additional digging and probing beyond traditional interview questions, we've put together a list of what to ask babysitters and nannies, complete with information you should volunteer to them to determine if they're qualified for the job.

What You Should Ask Babysitters

  • How many children with autism have you cared for?
  • How long have you been caring for children with autism or other special needs?
  • What form(s) of autism did those children have? (Moderate, severe, Aspergers)
  • Do you regularly work/volunteer with children with autism or other special needs?
  • What do you enjoy most about working with children?
  • What do you think is the most challenging part of babysitting a child with autism?
  • Have you ever had to administer medicine to an autistic child before?
  • How comfortable are you following strict daily routines? (Would you
    describe your babysitting style as structured or go-with-the-flow?)


What Else to Talk About

Behavior

  • The specific autism traits your child has
  • Whether there are likely to be behavior problems and how they should be handled
  • Whether your child ever gets aggressive
  • Any triggers that set your child off or cause a tantrum
  • Your child's likes and dislikes
  • What your child's dietary needs/preferences are
  • Your child's attention span and energy level
  • How your child's memory is (Can he handle more than one direction at a time?)

Communication and Interaction

  • How affectionate your child is
  • Whether your child has any unusual communication patterns, special words or signals
  • The best way to communicate with your child
  • How your child reacts to others

Routines

  • Your child's daily schedule and routine
  • The daily routines/activities your child needs help
    with versus what he likes to do on his own (Tying shoes, putting on a
    shirt, feeding himself, etc.)
  • Whether your child has difficulty transitioning between tasks (like playing to eating)
  • What meal time is like with your child

[image credit: Pulpolux]

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