Monday, June 10, 2013

A follow-up and a request

Several months ago, I asked for your input on social pragmatics for a piece I was writing.  You were incredibly helpful and a couple of you asked me to post the piece once it was finished.  It's out now, in the Summer, 2013 edition of Thrive magazine.  You can read it here.  (And if you're interested, I have a humor column in the same issue - right here.)

And now I'm back to ask for your input on another piece.  In this one, I'd like to focus on the challenges of finding childcare for a child with special needs (and I'd like to point out that I'm looking at "special needs" more globally, without a specific focus on autism, so if you have a friend who is a special needs parent and you can point them in my direction, I'd appreciate it!)  I'm thinking about both ongoing care (daycare for toddlers and preschoolers, afterschool care for older kids) as well as occasional care - since we all know that popping out for a quick dinner and a movie can take a month's planning when you have a child with special needs.

I'm seeking advice, lessons learned, success stories, and not-so-success stories.  Please share what you have - and, if you can, jump over to the Facebook page, where I'll be posting more pointed questions on the topic.  (And, again, if you know parents with children who have needs other than autism, I'd love to hear from them as well!)

Thanks in advance for your help.  You are the best resource I know.


Suzanne B. said...

"Nana, who is _your_ favorite Teletubby?" The kid's got smarts! Oh, and I love your app concepts. I need the Wardrobe Warner ASAP.

Stephanie said...

Yes! I absolutely wish I had the Potty Spotter app a few years ago. :) Both articles are great!

Anonymous said...

I reall

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your article. I am going to try the strategies suggested by SCERTS. I was reminded the other day that what may--to an overly sensitive, emotional parent like me-- seem like just a mean, insensitive comments from other kids about the way a child with autism uses language may actually make an educational impression on the child with autism. When my five year old son and I were taking a walk and came to a sewer, he told me that his friend Katie told him not to talk so much about sewers. That gave me the opportunity to talk about people having different interests.

Anonymous said...

Oh, have I got stuff for you!

kirsten said...

I don't mind leaving this here, can't find your email anyway.
So, yeah, childcare. TOUGH.
When my ASD kiddo was two and still undiagnosed, I was at a friend's house. She was teasing me for checking on him so much because her kids were a little older. "He's just FINE" she would say. TWO seconds later, her oldest daughter comes running downstairs yelling 'He's in the hamster cage!'
I didn't need to ask who. My point being, most people didn't (still don't) understand the level of supervision that my son needs. I'd leave him at someone's house and find out that they were basically unattended the whole time, which scared me.
My parents moved here a couple years later, and I am very comfortable with them caring for my son. Not so much anyone else, at least not for any real length of time. Because my parents will be out of town next month at the same time my babysitting-age daughter will be at camp, I had to cancel spending the day with my youngest at his cub scout day camp. Bummer.

Also, I would have LOVED to join a gym when the kids were younger, but I didn't think the gym daycare situation would work out. I'm guessing that's a common plight. I got rid of all 3 pregnancy weights, but now I have what I like to call my 'autism weight'.
Anyway, just thinking out loud, let me know if you'd like me to straighten out any of these thoughts. ;)

Pamela Brooke said...

Not about childcare specifically, but perhaps for a future blog post you could use this graphic I helped create that explores autism spectrum disorders from a visual perspective, entitled Autism 101: What We Know Today. Here it is:

Rich said...

Hi Mary, great blog (I especially love the name, great play on words!)

I'm always looking to further special needs awareness (particularly autism). I'm a school psychologist specializing in autism, and I'd be happy to provide some insight/suggestions for children with special needs if it would be helpful in your endeavors. I have a few useful ideas/strategies listed at under the Advice/Strategies section. Otherwise, my contact info can be found on the site, so feel free to get in touch if I can be of any help.

Susan said...


Our autistic son David is 28 years old and I'm still facing the same problem about finding a suitable carer. I've learned over the years that there does't seem to be any such thing as a permanent solution.

The last carer worked extremely well for three months, then, suddenly, David found the smell of leather in his car totally unbearable and began 'freezing' the Carer out. A month later I sadly had to let him go. What made it worse was that he totally understood. It's taken 6 months for David to agree to another Carer. So in future, if he starts to 'freeze' someone out I'll end things much quicker. The long recovery period afterwards puts a huge strain on all the family with no helper.

I tried really hard to regain the previous good relationship but David would have none of it. It just hardened his resolve not to have ANY carer.

Keep up the good work, you're doing a great job.

Anonymous said...

I work full time outside the home, so child care is always a big issue with me. At first, for child care of my son who has OCD (severe anxiety about different things), we used a combination of an in-home day care (only 4-6 children and a very understanding grandmother age women), a preschool run by the school district, and for evening hours a college student getting a degree in childhood development. We recently switched to hosting Au Pairs. These are young people, who are from another country, who want to spend a year or two in the US. They can work for up to 45 hours a week providing child care. We selected someone who was "special needs willing" and had a degree that gave her the opportunity to work with children with special needs during her internships. This has worked out great for us. We now have one person who really knows our child and plus I have the flexibility to schedules her hours when I need them for child care.