When we are asked if we can help find an au pair for a family who have a child with special needs, we generally take the following approach.
We place au pairs with a number of families who have a child with special needs, here are some of the suggestions we give to families.
First of all, do NOT expect experience with special needs! We expect an au pair to be willing to look after a child with special needs, rather than ‘able’ at time of application. It is up to the host family to give as much help and guidance at the start of the placement. It is very important that the family give as much information as possible in advance about
1) the actual child and their special needs
2) the duties the au pair has to take on with regards to this child specifically
3) how much of this is ‘sole care’ and how much of it is supported by a parent or other carers (special school etc).
If at all possible, the family should consider the au pair to start with the care for the able children in the family first of all, giving mum a chance to focus on the child with special needs and gradually increasing responsibilities for the au pair to care for the child with special needs.