Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Rewards of Respite Care


Faith and Kimberly at Kimberly's college graduation reception

Last night when I came home Faith was so excited to show me the Mr. Pumpkin Head she and Michelle had made. There it was on our bookshelf, right next to two Mr. Potato Heads. By the looks of it, Michelle and Faith had a blast. Once again, I found myself being very thankful for such wonderful respite care providers.

I think Respite care providers are a must for anyone with special needs children. I have to admit, I felt a little guilty handing off my daughter to someone else while I went and did, well, nothing. But that was the point. When Rob and I found Michelle, we were at the top of our stress level. We both needed a break.

The difference between us and couples with non-special needs kids is they could just hire a babysitter or have friends and family look after their children. We on the other hand, need someone who has had special training to look after our special needs daughter.

Rob and I applied to have a certain number of hours a month that we would have respite care available to us. We did this through our disability case manager. When we first began, we had one respite care provider with just 20 hours a month. Now, we are up to two respite care providers for 45 hours a month. The increase in hours allows for Rob and I to spend more time together as a couple as well as have some precious alone time.

A couple of years ago after having just Michelle, we also found Kimberly, a college student majoring in early childhood development/special education. Since Kimberly knew she was going to be moving, she introduced us to Lindsey. I know of families who have a hard time finding the right respite care person for their child. Also there is often a high turnover rate with respite care providers. These are other reasons I am so thankful. It seems as though the Lord has found us the perfect respite care providers who have come to love Faith just as she loves them. And what a huge blessing that is!

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