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
- 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
- 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]