Back in 2010, when I first hired aides to work with my then five year old son through an ABA Program (Applied Behavior Analysis), life was tense. The aides were in our home for eight hours a day, five days a week. They did programs with Champ, who is now eleven for 25-40 hours a week.
This is another post in a series of musings about Aides. You can check them all out if you’d like. The first is: Aides Why We Hire Them. Others include: Hiring Aides, Encouragement, Interview Ideas For Special Needs Families, Rejected Aides, Aides We Adopted, and, How We Give to Up to Thirty Therapists.
Today, seven years later, we no longer have a strict ABA program in play. Although we still need/require aide services. This post will layout what aides currently do in our home, their limitations, and the structure of their services. Buckle up, this is a dicey piece of “life” to describe. I hope it makes a tiny bit of sense.
In 2017, our aide services are very different. When I find a health care company that allows it, the aides will do a lot of driving to therapies, tutoring, and outings. My Fantastic Four are so spread apart chronologically, it is almost impossible to engage them all at one time. My youngest is eight, and my oldest is just about eighteen, sigh.
With aide services, I can “divide” and conquer, assuring all Four get some one on one time and attention. This might sound like a luxury, but oh no it’s not. Let me explain.
I believe individual time matters crucially to unique children with unique needs. Sometimes, Champ’s special interests/obsessions are so intense, he has major meltdowns if he can not engage in his “thing.” Having an extra pair of hands helps ensure safety.
My oldest son, gets certain things in his head. If he can not act upon his thoughts, he also has major meltdowns, fits of frustration, and life is much more difficult to enjoy.
Not only that, but Sophie can get very disruptive. She can get violent. The slightest noise, bright lights, social interaction can set her off. So with all this, if I have aide services around, it just solidifies a more safe calm atmosphere.
Aide services also means that three of the Fantastic Four are working on “Independent Skills.” Please see a post I did on this subject, HERE. I make sure their skills are being covered by keeping the XYZ Family Notebook.
In this notebook, my youngest, Champ, and Lee who is 16, all have chore lists, checklists, and skill sets to work on. I try to give the aide an hour every day/shift with each child to work on their individual needs.
During this time, we divide and conquer homework, routines, and health care/medicines. This brings me to the challenges.
One of the greatest challenges with having an aide help the kids, is that especially with Champ, they can not distribute medicine. To solve the problem, I have the aide oversee Champ using his own pump. Often Champ, interposes numbers, typing in the wrong digits, in the wrong place.
The aid watches to make sure Champ does not harm himself. However, I don’t feel comfortable with this until the aide REALLY understands what is needed. As a result, this still keeps me on a very short leash.
The other big challenge, is when “Respite” is being billed, I am not to leave the home (how is that respite, but anywho). Only when we bill Homemaker Personal Care am I ok to leave. The only problem is there is a limited budget for those hours. Also, it is more difficult to find “aides” with that certification and health care companies that will bill for this specialty.
If you use Aide Services, I highly suggest you make a notebook. List the child’s schedule. Make a checklist of what you want covered. Have important phone numbers, facts, and anything vital in that notebook for the Aide’s reference.
Before I had the notebook, I had aides putting in hours by basically sitting, playing on their phones. I had to lay down laws. But now, my kids are actually progressing and benefiting from the time with the young adults.
A really drab situation with aides has been turned into a useful one, where everyone is winning. The aides get paid. I have stress eased. The kids have someone new to work on skills with, which is priceless. They often respond so much better to someone who is young and cool – ha!
How have you utilized Aide Services? If you don’t have aides in your home, what is the biggest hurdle to getting some respite? Please share in the comments below.
Thank you for stopping by today. Please come back again soon. Sign up for the newsletter too! Blessings to you and yours, today and always,
PS THIS IS a Special Needs Respite Guide that might be helpful to refer to.