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Training Baby Sitters for Children With Special Needs

On Thursdays, Ms. Choi can feel reliably confident that her husband will not come home to find her tense and exhausted. By bedtime, both of her children will have eaten dinner and been bathed. The 3-year-old, Spencer, who has a speech delay and a developmental disorder, will not have walked around the living room in self-soothing circles the moment she turned her attention elsewhere. Her 6-year-old, Logan, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, will have finished his homework.

Thursday is the best day because that is the day Catalina Lopez — cheerful, well trained and all of 17 years old — comes to watch Spencer and Logan, each for an hour, separately, and peace descends on the family’s two-bedroom apartment in western Queens. Competent, reliable baby sitters are closely guarded treasures for most parents; for families who have children with special needs (but who do not qualify for state-supported respite care), such baby sitters may exist only in the realm of fantasy. Those who need a break the most, then, are often the least able to find someone they trust to provide it.

via Training Baby Sitters for Children With Special Needs – NYTimes.com.

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