Au Pair in America has au pairs who love working with different types of children. April is Autism Awareness month and some many families with autistic children have turned to Au Pair in America to find the right childcare to fit their needs. We have au pairs who are not only willing to work with special needs children, but many who request this for their year in America.
Jessica Klose from Germany
Jessica Klose is spending a second year as an Au Pair in America with a family in Ronkonkoma with three children, 2 are autistic. She is extended for a second year because her first year was so rewarding and she loves the children. Her host parents are very involved and supportive of her, introducing her to the children’s teachers and support services. Jessica is turning 21 in May, so she began working with her host children when she was 19. She says she has learned so much about herself and grown as a person through her experiences here in the USA. Most importantly she has learned how to be patient, how to put someone else’s needs first. Her host children need lots of repetition and routine. She finds it fascinating how they think and has learned that they think in pictures. The I Pad has become a great tool to communicate with her host children. Her host children love bowling once a week with their peers. Jessica loves watching how much they have grown since she first arrived!
Jessica’s host mom, Christine Murphy, said this about Jessica and her past au pairs, “
Jessica, Elsa and Lara have all been open minded and loving caretakers for all of our children. They have had to be patient and flexible. Having two special needs children presents many challenges. Their positive attitude and commitment to learn positive behavior support strategies have made a great difference for our family. We are grateful to have them in our lives.”
Jessica would recommend this program to all her friends and would encourage others to consider being an au pair in a family with special needs children. When she returns to Germany this summer, she wants to pursue a degree in psychology or renewable energy. She looks forward to being an ambassador for the Au Pair in America program someday, so she can tell other young women what a great opportunity it is for them.
Shireen Hendricks is from South Africa working with a family with 4 children, the 15 year old boy is a high functioning autistic child. She says he is very literal and enjoys technical video games. He is in a special class at school that is teaching him basic social skills as well as academics. She finds the interactions between him and his siblings challenging at times, but she, like Jessica, has learned patience and the importance of routine. She also extended for a second year in America with her host family.
Aisha Summers from Canada works with two autistic girls. Her host mom, Kirsten Fergusen, is a special education teacher and says “Having an Au pair to help with our 2 special needs daughters has made such a difference in our lives. Autumn and Ava have multiple disabilities. They are non-verbal with cognitive impairment, seizure disorders, and both are on the autism spectrum. It takes a person of strong character with unyielding patience, a generous heart, and a commitment to going the extra mile. Aisha has all of this to offer and more. She understands the importance of consistency. She never takes the easy route. She nudges my girls towards independence. She has high expectations for them and loves them unconditionally. Having Aisha as part of our family for almost 2 years has helped more ways than I can say. She has been a true blessing.”
Aisha Summers, Canadian and Shireen Hendricks, South African
Aisha feels very strongly that working with autism and special needs children has been the most rewarding part of being an Au Pair in America. She has experienced so many special moments with the girls and loves creating experiences for them within the structure of the day. She is returning home this summer and will continue working with children and planning more education for her future career. Aisha feels so strongly about Autism Awareness and has recently had a tattoo added to her body with the puzzle design for awareness. Her host parents have developed an app for the I Pad to communicate more effectively with autistic children. Aisha said the girls are even talking more with the app. Check it out at https://close2homeapps.com/?q=our_apps
To learn more about Au Pair in America for your family go to www.aupairinamerica.com or call me, Cindy Garruba, Senior Community Counselor for Au Pair in America in Suffolk County, NY at 631-591-3573 or email me at Cindy722@aol.com