Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Take a Break: How to Get Caregiver Help

Parents of children with special healthcare needs are often the sole caregivers of their child. When mom and dad live together, they often take turns taking care of the child at home or taking them to appointments or therapies. Many families may have only a mom or dad. In either of these scenarios, the stress of not taking a “break” from this responsibility can be overwhelming.  

It is important that parents create a strong support system around their child. It becomes a juggling act when parents try to accomplish everything on their own. Many parents have expressed their concern about other people being their child’s caregiver. This is a valid concern. 

Many children require that the caregiver has knowledge of many health and behavioral-related skills. And some parents may find it hard to trust someone other than themselves to provide care for their child. It is important to open our minds and our hearts when looking for that right person that we can trust and rely on for when we need a “break.” 

Here are some ideas for finding caregiver help so you can take that needed and important break: 

  • Family members are always a good starting point. If you don’t have family members who can step in, network with other parents, and ask if they use someone that would be interested in helping you.  
  • Many parents use students from the local university as paid support staff. Many are students in the field of special education or want to become a therapists and would like the opportunity to work with children with disabilities.  
  • Research respite care providers and services. This website has information that can help.
  • Reach out to home health agencies if your child qualifies for personal care services or respite funds through the Community Resources Coordination Group (CRGC) or has a Medicaid waiver program.  
  • Some cities have licensed childcare centers that offer an opportunity for parents to leave their child in their care. Search for these resources in your area on the Navigate Life Texas website.  

Finally, here are a few very important things to make sure you do once you find someone to help care for your child:

  • Make sure that you do a criminal background check on anyone that will be working with your child. It is not expensive to do and you can easily do it on line through the Texas Department of Public Safety website.  
  • Extensive training and planning needs to occur before leaving the caregiver with the child. Have medication, food preferences and emergency phone numbers written down, visible and readily available.  

However you plan, please make sure that you are taking a break occasionally. Everyone needs to get away to refresh and reenergize. Do not feel guilty for not being with your child 24/7. A refreshed caregiver is much more effective that someone that is burned out and stressed. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.

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