What should I expect while babysitting a 4-year-old boy who has autism?
You're already on the right path — you care enough about the little guy to learn about his particular health condition. Here are some tips on babysitting a child with autism.
Ask the parents about their son's communication and behavior patterns and preferences. For example:
Don't worry about asking too many questions. Autism affects kids in different ways, so no two children with the condition are alike. Most likely, your questions will only reassure the parents that you are a reliable caretaker for their son.
See if you can spend time with the child and parents together before your first babysitting session. This will let you get used to his behavior patterns and see firsthand how the parents handle the child. It will also allow the little guy to get to know you with the comfort of a parent present.
Try to stick to the child's usual routine and rules (feeding times, nap times, etc.). Give him simple instructions, one at a time, rather than giving him multiple things to do at once. Wait for him to finish a task or activity before giving instructions on another.
Avoid bringing friends or your own family members to the house while you are babysitting. If you take the child on an excursion outside the home, try to visit only places he is familiar with, like a nearby park or anywhere else that's comforting.
As with any babysitting experience, focus on the child. And make sure you have contact numbers for emergencies, including ways to reach the parents if needed.
Reviewed by: Wendy Harron, BS, OTR/L
Date reviewed: September 2014
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|Autism Research Institute (ARI) The ARI is a nonprofit organization devoted to conducting research on the causes of autism and on methods of preventing, diagnosing, and treating autism and other severe behavioral disorders of childhood. Contact them at: Autism Research Institute|
4182 Adams Ave.
San Diego, CA 92116 Fax: (619) 563-6840
|Autism Society of America (ASA) The mission of ASA is to promote lifelong access and opportunities for persons within the autism spectrum and their families.|
|American Red Cross Babysitter's Training Course Designed for 11- to 15-year-olds, the babysitter's training course can help you care for children and infants, make good decisions, solve problems, be a good leader, and more.|
|Autism Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain and can make communicating and interacting with other people difficult. Find out more.|
|Babysitting: Emergency Contact Sheet The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. If you're a teen babysitter, be sure parents have filled out a sheet like this and posted it near each phone.|
|Babysitting Center Need advice on starting a babysitting business or tips on caring for kids? Want to test your babysitting knowledge and hear how other babysitters do it? This babysitting center for teens is the place for you.|
|Babysitting: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Take the Job Knowing what to expect can make your babysitting experience safer, easier, and a lot more enjoyable. Be prepared by asking these 5 questions.|
|Babysitting: Emergencies At most babysitting jobs the worst thing that happens is a fight over the last ice pop. But what do you do if there's really an emergency? Get some tips in this article for teen babysitters.|
|3 Things Every Responsible Babysitter Should Know It's extremely unlikely that you'll face an emergency while babysitting. But knowing you're capable of handling problems allows you to relax and focus on the kids.|
|Babysitting: The Basics If you're new to babysitting, check out our guide to learn how to be the best babysitter around. Been babysitting forever? Use the guide to check your skills.|
|Babysitting: Caring for Kids With Special Needs What's the best way to feel confident about caring for a kid with special needs? Know what to expect! Here are tips on looking babysitting kids with autism, Down syndrome, and ADHD.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.