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Special Needs Nanny: Skillset and responsibilities

Special Needs Nanny: Skillset and responsibilities

Welcome to our definitive ‘Jobs in Childcare’ guide on working as a special educational needs nanny. Here we'll delve into the relevant skills, qualifications and responsibilities for a career working as a special needs childcare provider. You can also search available nanny positions now to see if any require SEN!

Qualifications of a Special Educational Needs Nanny

While there is no single specific training qualification requirement to become a special educational needs nanny, there are certainly certifications and training programs that will develop both your expertise and employability, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Training, the Special Needs Caregiver Certification, and, of course, First Aid and CPR certificates. Training courses are available for specific disabilities or conditions, we suggest researching them online.

You may also wish to consider and research the following in more detail:

  • Degree in Special Education: This degree program is generally a four-year program that gives students an in-depth understanding of the theories and practices of special education, including behaviour management, curriculum planning, and teaching techniques for kids with a varied range of disabilities.

  • Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): ABA is a well-known and effective method for kids with special educational needs, supplying you with the expertise and skills to create individualised treatment plans and interventions for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

  • Certificate in Early Childhood Special Education: This program develops early intervention strategies, assessment and evaluation, and the development of individualised education plans (IEPs) for kids with disabilities.

  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA): Occupational therapy is an important part of working with kids with special educational needs. A COTA is a licensed healthcare professional (typically supervised by an occupational therapist) who helps children work on the skills they need to participate in everyday activities. These may include self-care, social play, and tasks related to learning at school.

  • Degree in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP): SLPs work with children who struggle specifically with communication disorders. This may include language delays, stuttering, or speech sound disorders. SLPs help to assess and diagnose these types of communication disorders, working on therapy and treatment plans.

Don’t forget that, on top of qualifications, demand previous experience working with children with special educational needs is high. This may be in the capacity of volunteering, internships, or simply employment as a special educational needs caregiver.

Skillset of a Special Educational Needs Nanny

A special educational needs nanny needs a diverse range of skills to work their best.

  1. Patience and empathy: Absolutely vital for working with children in need of a little extra support and understanding. A special educational needs nanny should try their best to see things from their charge’s perspective for a safe, nurturing environment.

  2. Effective communication: Special educational needs nannies must be able to communicate clearly and effectively with all involved. This could mean using alternative communication methods, such as sign language or visual aids, depending on the child's needs.

  3. Adaptability: Every child is different, so the nanny should be ready to adapt their approach to meet individual situations with individual children. This may include modifying activities, creating personalised learning plans, or adjusting schedules as needed.

  4. Problem-solving: Working with special educational needs kids regularly presents unique challenges. A good special educational needs nanny will think creatively and develop effective solutions to overcome such obstacles.

  5. Training and expertise: A special educational needs nanny should have specialised training in areas such as sensory integration, behaviour management, or specific disabilities, enabling them to provide targeted support to the kids they care for.


Responsibilities of a Special Educational Needs Nanny

A special educational needs nanny's key task is ultimately the provision of personalised care and support for their charge or charges. Nannies should therefore be comfortable with the following:

  1. The creation of a safe, nurturing environment: Ensuring the child feels secure and well-supported is paramount. The nanny should be skilled in dealing with challenging behavior and fostering positive bonds with both the charge and the charge’s family.

  2. Developing and implementation of individualised care plans: A special educational needs nanny will need to work in tandem with parents and therapists, as well as any other care staff, to tailor a care plan for the charge's specific needs and to achieve educational and developmental goals

  3. Managing medical requirements: Depending on the child's condition, a special educational needs nanny may need to administer medication, assist with mobility or communication devices, or provide other support.

  4. Assisting with daily living skills: Tasks like eating, dressing or personal hygiene will need to be addressed and will be specific to each charge.

  5. Organising activities and outings: A special educational needs nanny should plan and facilitate age-appropriate activities and outings that cater to the child's interests and abilities, ensuring they are engaging and enjoyable for the child. This may include creative arts and crafts activities, sensory play, or outdoor adventures.

  1. Supporting the charge in building social skills and fostering relationships to develop friendships and connections with peers.

  2. Maintaining open communication with the family including updates on the child's progress, discussing any concerns, and collaborating on strategies to support the charge’s development.


Final Thoughts

Becoming a special educational needs nanny requires heart, specialised training, and a fundamental understanding of the hurdles facing children with special needs. By developing these skills and qualifications, you can really change the lives of these incredible children and their families.