I am in the process of getting certified as a respite provider through our state Department of Developmental Disabilities. The kids they deal with have mental retardation, autism, and related issues. I would love to hear from families who receive such services what you would like to find in the ultimate respite home. I am willing to take all ages, genders, issues, 1 or 2 kids at a time, weekends mainly. I was a therapeutic level foster parent and also have my own special needs kids (pretty broad range of experiences!). I also work with kids with severe mental health issues, so I think I really have seen and heard it all. Kids still at home are teens (fairly low-needs, sort of) and are looking forward to participating in this project. I plan to renew our memberships to the zoo, children's museum, and science museum. I will have a spare bedroom with bunk beds, bean bag chairs, and a bookshelf. Very bland/neutral decoration. Would you want a TV in the room? WII? Would it bother you? What kind of toys would have near universal appeal? How about craft supplies? How much fun should I plan? I mean, would it be weird if respite was too much more fun than a regular boring weekend at home? Sort of like non-custodial parents always buying the coolest toys, y'know?
I am totally willing and able to meet dietary/sensory/medical/toileting needs. I am happy to tailor the plans to the needs of a specific kid. I am probably less able to be too strict or structured in my parenting style. My style has worked for me thus far, and old habits die hard... I do however have fairly high expectations/standards and generally kids comply pretty well. I just say that because I know I would be pretty rotten about consistently applying a level system or behavior chart kind of system - would it be important to you that respite followed the same program you do at home?
What else would you want me to know in general? Any input is welcome - I have about a month or 2 before all the pieces of this plan fall into place. I am getting pretty excited about the idea, and am probably thinking about it too much...
Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)
Cool, mamarhu! I never imagined myself as a parent needing respite. I'm an AP mom, after all! But four busy kids later and two with special needs and I could use a break from the special issues to keep myself sane.
Everything you describe sounds absolutely fabulous! I guess I'd want to hear how you handle challenging behaviors. (Sounds like you'd handle them very well, but it's a question I would ask.) I'm also a more loosely structured parent, so not doing a sticker chart or something wouldn't affect me one bit.
You asked if TV or a Wii would bother a parent. If you had the kids doing very much screen time, yes. But I wouldn't really expect none.
I'd ask you about food and how you'd handle special feeding issues or allergies. Otherwise, you're hired!
Will you please come move to my community so you can provide respite for me?
1 me + 1 hubby + 4 kids + 5 goats + 3 pigs + 3 dozen chickens + 6 ducks = 1 crazy place
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