Special Needs

Summer Safety Tips for Children with Special Needs

TLC for KidsSummertime safety is a big concern for most parents, simply because many children get long breaks from school and are either home all day or with a caregiver. During the school year, it’s comforting to know your child is safe in a classroom with a competent teacher, but during summer months, it can be difficult not to worry. When your child has special needs, that worry is magnified tenfold.

It takes a little planning, but it is possible to have a relatively stress-free summer along with your child. With some preparation, communication, and careful planning, you can figure out a way for your child to be safe and have fun at the same time. Here are some of the best tips.

Summer Nanny

If your child will be with a nanny during the day, it’s important to maintain communication with them at all times and let them know what to expect at the beginning of each day. If they’ll be taking your child outside the home–to a park or playground, for instance–you might consider making a visit there first to check out the equipment and to see what sort of surfaces there are. Playgrounds with mulch are much preferable to those with gravel or concrete.

Keep a contact list for the nanny with detailed instructions on what they need to tell a first responder about your child’s medical needs should an accident occur. This includes any allergies, your child’s official diagnosis, and any medications they are taking.

Make sure to communicate to the nanny that being well-rested is important when they are spending time with your child. The benefits of a good night’s sleep are invaluable, whereas too little sleep could negatively affect their ability to function rationally and quickly.

Outdoor safety

Teaching your child how to be safe outside is imperative for summer months, and this includes water and pedestrian safety. Educating them about crosswalks, how to look both ways for vehicles, holding hands before crossing, and staying away from parked cars will go a long way in giving you peace of mind when they aren’t with you.

For water safety, consider enrolling your child in a swim class. Many children on the autism spectrum love the feel of water, so it’s especially important to teach your child how to stay safe when swimming. Always drain kids’ pools after use and consider installing motion sensors near in-ground or large above-ground pools if you have a child who wanders.

Always have your child use a helmet and knee/elbow pads when they are using any equipment that moves, such as a bike, scooter, or roller skates. Make sure the helmet and pads fit well and are in good shape.

Watch the heat index

Many children with special needs have a decreased tolerance for heat, so it’s important to follow the weather reports and prepare. Dehydration can occur quickly and with little warning, but some signs to look for are headache, nausea, cramps, dry mouth, irritability, fatigue, and few trips to the bathroom. Urine will be dark in color. If your child has any of these symptoms, get them into a cool, shady spot immediately and give them water to drink. A cool washcloth on the back of the neck can help if one is available.

Summer can bring lots of things to think about, but with a little bit of planning and good communication, you can make it a fun time for everyone involved.

TLC for Kids has caregivers who have experience working with children who have special needs.    To learn more about TLC for Kids visit the website at tlcforkids.com

Thank you to our guest writer Sean Morris!

 

Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.

Caring for Children with Special Needs

When it comes to caring for children with special needs, there are different approaches you will need to take. As a parent or caregiver, you may need to treat the special needs child different from an ordinary child, depending on what their needs are. It can be difficult for many parents, especially when they first find out or when they feel like they are going through this alone.

Caring for children with special needs mean facing many obstacles and challenges that can be difficult at times. These children need extra attention that can take up much of your time. There are numerous hours required for medical appointments and hospitals visits and some children even require regular therapy sessions.

When you are caring for a child with special needs you not only have to consider the present but you must also think about the future. What will happen to that child if you were to become sick or if you are involved in an accident? As you age you may no longer be physically able to care for them but they may still need assistance. As important as the here and now is, the future must be considered.

Part of planning for the future includes taking steps to teach that child as much as they are capable of learning now. You will work with them to help them achieve independence and teach them the basic skills needed to survive but that still may not be enough. It will depend on their disabilities and they may always need someone to be there and help care for them. Take the time now to plan for the future and it will help to relieve some of your worries.

Resources for Special Needs

What resources exist for children with special needs? When your child was diagnosed with a disability or other issue, you were probably told then that there are many resources available for special needs. But you may be surprised to find out how many different options really exist for you out there. Search for resources for special needs with:

• Doctors
• Therapists
• School
• Online resources
• Online support groups
• Local support groups
• Books
• Videos/ DVDs
• Other parents and caregivers

These are just a few of many places you may be able to find more info about your child’s special need and what is available to help you.

When you are caring for a child with special needs don’t hesitate to use any of the resources designed for children with special needs. It’s a difficult task and no one expects you to go it alone. You should never feel like you have to deal with it all on your own, especially when there are so many people out there who know what you’re going through and so many resources to make it easier.

Seeking Help with Special Needs

As a parent, the more you learn about special needs and what options are available to you, the better prepared you will be to give your child the help they need and deserve. Don’t hesitate to seek help with the special needs of the one in your care. There are people out there more qualified and more experienced than you in this type of problem and they can help show you the ropes and gives you hints, tips and ideas for how to better care for your child.

As a parent or caregiver for a child with special needs you will spend countless hours worrying about your child and doing all that you can to comfort them. Many people spend sleepless nights simply listening and watching over the child so they will be right there in the event they are needed during the night.

Parents and caregivers of children with special needs display extraordinary strength and courage when caring for these kids. They focus all of their attention on the child and do all they can to nurture and protect them in every way. In the end, the most important thing is that you give your child the best opportunities available, regardless of what types of special needs they may have. In the end, caring for children with special needs can be one of the most rewarding experiences you ever have.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  We serve St. Louis, Atlanta and Florida. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Nannying For The Child With Special Needs

Our guest post today comes from International Nanny Association

As modern families continue to grow, they have become more prone to hiring professional, experienced nannies to support the day-to-day management of their busy households. As a result, Nanny and Parent FAQnanny roles have become much more complex and integral to the family dynamic than ever before. Nannies are expected to be more deeply involved in the physical and emotional development of the children, along with managing the basic needs of the kids.

Given the high demand, nannies have become more skilled in how to take care of varying types of children in multiple situations. Furthering their knowledge and continuing their education to include specializations and certifications, today’s modern nanny is well-versed in the intricacies of childcare.

Children with Special Needs

Families who have children with special needs often face different challenges than other families, and as they grow together they develop effective ways to best support and nurture their kids. Families with differently abled children often develop a dynamic support system to ensure that all members of the family are well cared for, respected, challenged, and loved.

As a result of generally busy lifestyles, this amazing family support system is not always available to the families in need of support, so this is where exceptionally talented nannies come in and play a gigantic role.

A nanny for a child with special needs is typically more skilled and often has more experience than their peers.  Children with special needs can have varying communication abilities, dietary concerns, or behavioral differences, depending on the specific situation. No two kids are alike, so although personal experience is extremely helpful for nannies wishing to work with differently abled young ones, it is essential to approach each situation with an open mind and desire to identify what is best for that specific family and child.

Continue reading for more information on skills, training and more. 

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Proven Methods for Finding Quality Childcare and Summer Camps

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by elfpreschool

Summer camps can provide amazing experiences for children. New friendships are formed. New skills are acquired. Comfort zones are tested. Best of all, children and teenagers have an incredibly fun excuse to take a break from technology for a bit while spending some time outdoors.

Here’s how to find the perfect summer camp or childcare so your children can make memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime:

Counselors, Directors and Staff

It’s important to tour the facility so you can meet as many of the staff as possible. Before registering your child, ask the staff about their credentials. How long have they been working with kids? Are they trained in CPR and First Aid, specifically for children?

Talk to the staff in-person, let your child meet them, and get a feel for whether they’ll be a good fit. Don’t just rely on your first impression; you can take it a step further by reviewing staff bios on the website or checking out online reviews from other parents.

Safety and Security

You also want to make sure the facility is safe and secured. Many summer camps require that children are never left alone without camp counselor supervision at any time. Additionally, your facility should limit visitors to just authorized family members or camp staff. Your child’s safety should always be the number one priority. Period.

 

Regardless of which daycare or summer camp you choose for your child, it can be helpful to prepare your child for the new experience by teaching him or her some basic safety skills. Experts recommend preparing children for summer camp by having some important safety discussions beforehand. Swimming safety equipment is especially important for children, so make sure they are prepared. Remind your child not to share hats, helmets or other headgear with their fellow campers (you don’t want them sharing lice infestations with the rest of the family!).

Special Needs

Does your child have a disability or other special need? If so, it can be helpful to bring your child along with you during your facility visit. This lets you observe camp staffers as they interact with your child. You can learn a lot from these interactions. Be sure to also ask about their previous experiences working with children with special needs, and any licenses or certifications they might have.

Do you need assistance finding the best camps for your children with special needs? You can start by reaching out to disability foundations in your area for recommendations. You can also check with summer camp directories that specialize in camp programs for children and teens with special needs or disabilities. Remember: you’re not alone, and there are many helpful resources available.

Summer Nanny

Having a nanny for the summer helps keep the house running smoothly too.  Your nanny will make sure the kids get to and from camp on time and can be available if a child is sick and can’t make it. Planning camps for multiple kids at the same time can be difficult. When you have a nanny at home for the summer you don’t have to worry if one child doesn’t have a camp the same week as another child.  The nanny will make that week at home fun with games, arts and crafts, and by visiting local attractions.

It’s not too late to line up a summer nanny.  Contact Debbie today at debbie@tlcforkids.com.

Author: Alex Robbins

April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month, and we at TLC for Kids support Autism Awareness in our communities.

In 1943, psychiatrist Leo Kanner observed 11 children who he described as having a desire for sameness and social withdrawal. He also claimed these children had speech and language problems, particularly speech delays and echoing mechanisms.

Kanner used the word “autistic” to describe the characteristics of these children who seemed not to posses an ability to relate to people.

Today 1 in every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism, as reported by the CDC in 2016.  The St. Louis Chapter of Autism speaks says that a new case of Autism is diagnosed every 11 minutes.  Obviously there is a great need to get the word out about Autism and how we can all help.

Finding childcare for a child with Autism can sometimes be difficult.  Parents want to find a babysitter who has the the experience and the know how to work with a child with special needs.

TLC For Kids has babysitters and nannies who have experience caring for kids on all levels of the Autism Spectrum.  Our team of Special Needs providers have attended seminars on Autism, taken OT or PT classes, or are teachers and nurses with experience.   If your child has Asperger’s,  or PDD-NOS we can also help.

Contact us 314-725-5660 to learn more about our Special Needs providers and reserve a sitter today.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Original article appeared April 2013, updated with current statistics. 

Recommended Apps for Kids with Autism

I came across this blog from North Shore Pediatrics with some great apps for kids, especially kids with Autism.  TLC for Kids is proud to be part of the Walk Now for Autism Speaks this Saturday.  Stop by our booth and say hello.

  1. 123 Token Me– This app is a visual token board that can be used for one child (free version) or unlimited children and unlimited behaviors ($9.99).  This app gives you the versatility to choose background color, various token choices, and graphs and visually displays data for you. This is the most motivating token board I have used with my kids because it is interactive.  Also, one of the token options shows a picture of the child, which they all love!
  2. First Then Visual Schedule HD– This app is 2 applications put into one; it is both a visual schedule and a choice board.  It allows you to show the child “first ___, then ____.” with the ability to make choices from a visual field.  It also allows you to make more complex, multiple-step, visual schedules.  It is a bit on the pricey side at $14.99 but totally worth it if your child struggles to make choices verbally or would benefit from a visual schedule.  It is much easier to carry around than a paper schedule or choice board, because you can update it on the fly using the camera function or Google images.
  3. Duck Duck Moose, Inc.- (includes Wheels on the Bus, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old MacDonald and many more).  All of the Duck Duck Moose apps are a big hit with all the kiddos I work with as they are interactive, the characters move, jump and dance, and they all play familiar kid’s songs.  The apps range in price from free versions up to $3.99 each.
  4. Visual Timer- Search “visual timer” in the app store and choose VisTimerFree or VisTimer ($.99).  Both versions show a circle slowly decreasing in the color of your choice, along with various sounds to choose for early warnings and end times.  The paid version allows you to set the timer for up to 24 hours, while the free version only allows up to 5 minutes. This app provides a great visual for kids to see the circle decreasing.  Once the color is gone, their time is up!
  5. Peekaboo Barn– Showcases a barn full of animals that pop out one at a time and make noises.  Children can guess which animal is coming next, learn names of the animals and learn animal sounds.  The full version is $.99.
  6. Dora’s Great Big World– This app is packed with games that focus on school-readiness including literacy, math and science! Boys and girls alike love this game! It runs $2.99 for iPhone and $5.99 for iPad.
  7. Thomas and Friends Engine Activity Fun– This free app offers puzzles, coloring pages, and memory games to play featuring all of your favorite Thomas friends!
  8. Mr. Potato Head Create and Play– For $2.99 you can customize Mr. Potato Head in over 200 combinations!  You can teach children to play functionally or foster their creativity and allow them to make funny faces or put a mouth where his hand should be!

 

A Little Rest Goes A Long Way – by Leigh Rolnicki from loveu2pieces.org

Blog by Leigh Rolnicki from loveu2pieces.org

Res·pite [res-pit]

Noun:  A delay or cessation for a time, especially of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief

Verb: To relieve temporarily, especially from anything distressing or trying; give an interval of relief from

No matter how you say it – stay, hiatus, rest, recess, postpone, suspend – respite is something that all parents need from time to time. It’s especially true of parents who are raising one or more children on the autism spectrum.

If this describes you or someone you know, then you’re probably already aware that caring for a child on the spectrum can be rewarding one day and devastating the next. In fact, those emotions and more can be experienced within the same hour some days.

It’s common that a lot of responsibility and taking care of children (on the spectrum or not) falls to the mom. This doesn’t mean the dads aren’t involved, but as moms we often take on more because that’s who we are and what we instinctively do. We love our children and want what’s best. And sometimes what’s best is for us to take a break away from our special needs child to recharge and refresh.

Thinking about doing this can make many women uncomfortable. That’s OK. But there are some compelling reasons as to why this is not only good for you, but also good for your child on the spectrum, and other neurotypical children you may have and marriage.

What Is Respite Care?

At its simplest, respite care is a break from the action. It’s a stepping back so you can catch your breath, recharge your batteries and spend a little bit of time caring for yourself. It can be time to hang with your other kids if you have them, visit with friends, be with your significant other conversing beyond, “How was your day?”

It sounds great, but many parents, especially moms, fight respite care. It may be hard to walk away from your enormous responsibility of caring for your child, but doing so can make a world of difference in how you interact with him or her when you return. There’s no shame or guilt in taking a break – everyone needs one now and then.

Try thinking of it this way. If you’ve flown on a plane, then you know that flight attendants always instruct that parents should put on their oxygen masks first before they put a mask on a child. This at first sounds counter-intuitive and uncaring. No parent wants to see her child struggle for breath in a scary situation. But it makes perfect sense – take care of you first so you’re able to take care of your child. Respite care is the same thing.

But it’s not all about you.

Your child may also benefit from a break. While routine and familiarity is what children on the spectrum favor, it’s a good thing for them to expand their relationships beyond their direct family to other caregivers. Not only might it encourage a bit more independence, but also provide successful solutions to matters where the child might have become “stuck,” such as going to the bathroom instead of using a diaper. Sometimes someone different can coax out behaviors that the child won’t do for the parents.

Length Of Time Varies

Respite can mean 15 minutes. It can mean a weekly date night. Or it can mean a few quiet days away. Only you will be able to determine what makes the most sense for your family situation and budget. If you can regularly schedule respite breaks they will become part of your family routine, which will help smooth the transition each time you go away.

Finding A Caregiver

Finding a caregiver that you like and trust to do the best job may not be as difficult as you think. A search for “respite care for autism St. Louis” on the Autism Speaks website netted several potential services and individual caregivers. While not an autism organization, TLC for Kids is a local nanny agency that has multiple caregivers with autism experience.

The key to finding someone who is right for your family will be asking many questions to gain a comfort level with the potential service/caregiver and being clear about the needs of your child. Any fears, hesitations and concerns should be expressed during your conversation(s) to provide the greatest level of comfort for you.

Stabilizing Your Foundation

So as we close Autism Awareness Month for 2013, we at LoveU2Pieces, asks you to remember:

It’s About Time…

Time To Breathe…

Time To Build…

Time To Blossom…

Raising a child on the autism spectrum brings with it a unique set of challenges… Not just for the child, but for the parents, siblings, grandparents and friends.

Take the time and garner the support you need to raise healthy, successful children in a strong, supportive environment. Rejuvenate, re-energize, take care of yourself, so that you can be the best for your family.

 

A special thank you to Leigh Rolnicki from loveu2pieces.org for this guest post!

Special Needs Care in Miami

TLC For Kids recognizes the difficulties families face in finding qualified caregivers to care for children with special needs. TLC caregivers take worry and stress away from parents while introducing your special needs child to new activities and exercises to ease his frustration. TLC would love to help your family find that perfect person to meet your child’s needs.

The TLC staff includes professionals and paraprofessionals in the education and special education fields, as well as nurses, nursing students, occupational and physical therapy students and social work students who have experience working with children with a broad range of special needs including; autism, hearing loss, sensory disorders, ADD, ADHD, cerebral palsy, seizures and others.

Many parents of children with special needs are hesitant to leave their children with neighborhood sitters who may not have the skills and knowledge to care for their children. Our professionally screened caregivers are available during the day, evening, and also on weekends on an as-needed basis for parents who need help sporadically.

Visit our website register for a Special Needs Caregiver in Miami.

Caring for Special Needs Kids

Raising a child on the autism spectrum brings with it a unique set of challenges… Not just for the child, but for the parents, siblings, grandparents and friends.

TLC for Kids is proud to be associated with LoveU2Pieces.  LoveU2Pieces is committed to giving families the time and support they need to raise healthy, successful children in a strong, supportive environment.

Here is an excerpt from one of their blogs that I wanted to share.

“Caring for a child on the autism spectrum is challenging for even the most loving and committed couples. The constant stress,  lack of downtime and exhaustion can test relationships on all levels. Finding time to be a couple, versus parents of a child with ASD, can be almost impossible. Yet the shared responsibility of caring for a child (or children) on the spectrum can actually strengthen a relationship, if the couple makes their bond as important as the care they provide their child.

Take time for yourselves whenever you can. If that means only 15 minutes alone together, take it! There’s no perfect moment, so take advantage of the snippets of time as they present themselves. When you are able to plan a more elaborate date or weekend away, do it. “

TLC for Kids has a special needs staff.  The TLC staff includes professionals and paraprofessionals in the education and special education fields, as well as nurses, nursing students, occupational and physical therapy students and social work students who have experience working with children with a broad range of special needs including; autism, hearing loss, sensory disorders, ADD, ADHD, cerebral palsy, seizures and others.

Please contact us if you have any questions about our special needs staff or if you would like to request one of our experienced sitters.

To learn more about LoveU2Pieces.org and all they do to support families who have autistic kids visit their website.

TLC For Kids, Inc has been St. Louis’ premiere nanny and babysitting agency  for over 25 years.   TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at info@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Autism Speaks and TLC are training nannies.

 TLC For Kids knows that every child is different.  Our nannies have experience working with special needs kids and kids on the autistic spectrum.  Saint Louis parents need to know that we are here to help.

The number of children in the US diagnosed with autism is on the rise. A new study by the CDC  states that 1 in 88 eight year olds are on the autism spectrum.   In 2002 the number of children with autism was 1 in 150. 

Autism is a neurodevelopment disorder that leads to impaired language, communication, and social skills.   Parents of kids with autism often times feel overwhelmed.  Feeling alone they think that no one understands their child and their needs.  Finding a caregiver or nanny to watch their child may be difficult. 

That is not the case.  TLC For Kids, a nanny placement agency in St. Louis, has caregivers trained to help kids with autism and other special needs.  TLC and Autism Speaks have teamed up and are offering trainings for nannies.  These trainings teach nannies how to work with kids with autism.  Parents who have used the service feel safe knowing that not only is their nanny carefully screened she is also trained to work with kids on the autism spectrum.

The earlier parents and doctors can diagnosis a child with autism the better.  A child diagnosed at 18 months or 24 months and start therapy will have more success than a child diagnosed at 4 or 5 years old when the brain is more developed and harder to change.  TLC nannies can be instrumental in detecting signs of autism and then assisting parents and therapists with the on-on-one attention and directed activities re-enforcing the physical, occupational, play or speech therapies. 

For more information about TLC and their Autism Speaks training please contact Kimberly Patterson at kimberly@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.