Tips for Finding and Training Respite Support

Any family is healthier when you have a bit of support.  And having some help can give your child some additional hours every week when the focus is on them and their growth.

Finding People

So, you’ve finally made it through the waitlist to be picked up by a Family Services Worker and are trying to set up self-managed respite, or maybe you’re just trying to find supports on your own because you just need the help. Now for the next challenge… where do you actually go to find respite workers?

Here are some ideas to get you started on your search:

  • Family/Friends – is there someone that has been especially understanding of your child’s needs that may be able to help you out?
  • Day care/Preschool/School – sometimes EA’s are looking for extra work, especially over the breaks
  • Community connections – you may be pleasantly surprised to find supportive and willing people in your faith and cultural community but you may not know unless you ask!
  • Support groups – try posting on any related local Facebook groups that you’re part of; sometimes one families respite worker is looking for more hours
  • Colleges & universities – often students pursuing a related career make the best respite workers so make a posting as an employer at the local college/university career sites
  • This deserves it’s own bullet point because I’ve seen first hand how successful it can be – you can also directly email your respite posting to the program contact for the Red River College Disability & Community Support Program and they’ll put it up in their classroom!

Sharing Goals and Strategies

Once you’ve found a worker (or two) that’s a good fit, you’ll likely wonder how you can possibly teach them about your therapy approach and goals. Many families have found it useful to start by having your respite worker shadow or join you to see how you interact with your child. It may also be helpful to provide them with a summary of your child’s strengths and strategies – for example check out Paula Kluth’s Strengths & Strategies Profile.

If your family uses a developmental approach, here are some workshops and other resources that you can also use to educate your support people:

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