Recently, several parents on MyAutismTeam were comparing notes on how to find autism-friendly babysitters and one mom mentioned the website Sittercity.com as a potential source. I was intrigued. We’re always looking for good resources for MyAutismTeam parents but wondered if Sittercity, a website aimed at finding babysitters for the mass market, could be of any use to parents of kids with autism?
I decided to conduct a little test – be a secret shopper so to speak – and the results (explained below) really surprised me. It may be a great resource for many of you. We’ve negotiated a free trial and 50% discount for all MyAutismTeam parents so you can try it out yourself.
(You Should Try This if You’re Looking for a Sitter)
- I did the free trial to post my babysitting job and see if I got any responses.
(My son doesn’t actually have autism, but I wanted to see if it would work for parents on MyAutismTeam).
“I’m looking for a caring, female babysitter to take care of my 7 year old boy with autism for a few hours on Saturday nights so that I can go on a date with my wife.”
- Within three days I got 7 enthusiastic responses from local sitters who were interested in taking the job. Four of the seven women actually had direct experience working with kids on the autism spectrum in the past! The other three were open to learning and/or had experience working with special needs kids. I guess with 1 in 88 children being diagnosed, there’s a decent chance you’ll find a sitter who has had some experience with autism.
- I paid for the one month Sittercity membership (that’ll be $17.50 for you) so that I could get the contact information for all 7 women, call them, interview them, record their numbers for future use, and even hire them.
- Out of that I had 3 names of sitters I could call at any time going forward! That worked out to about $6 to find a qualified, autism-friendly sitter. Well worth it.
Note: I ended up doing this again for my own kids (who are not on the spectrum) and found Jenna, a sitter we’ve worked with several times since then. The beauty of this deal is once you’ve found a sitter you like, you never have to pay SitterCity again! I just booked Jenna to sit for us the night of the MyAutismTeam holiday party!
Not Trained Autism Professionals
Obviously, a sitter you find through this service is not a trained autism professional. We’re not suggesting that Sittercity will be able to fill that void for you. But depending on the needs of your child, you may just be able to find someone who can at least give you a chance to:
- Go on a date with your spouse
- Attend that office holiday party
- Go out on New Years
- Get some time for yourself
If you want to know more about the sitters before hiring them you can actually run a background check on them through Sittercity.
Test it Out for Free & Please Give Us Feedback
Use this link and you’ll automatically get a MyAutismTeam discount of 50% off should you choose to join Sittercity. I suggest doing the same test I did.
- Start with the free trial, post your job, and see if you get any responses you like
- Pay the $17.50 if you get a good response so that you can interview the sitters. Make sure you get their phone numbers and email addresses for future use! You’ll be able to call these sitters up any time you’re in a pinch.
- Try out a sitter and get some important time for yourself
Let us know how it goes! I live in Silicon Valley where adoption of Sittercity is likely higher than in other states, so you may not find the same coverage of sitters that I did. We want to hear about your experience with this partner.
Email us with feedback on your experience, or make a comment on this blog.
The more demand there is for autism-friendly sitters, the more likely it is that sites like SitterCity will work hard to find and prepare sitters for the job. We have the ability at MyAutismTeam to use our strength in numbers to help create the market for services like this! As part of the partnership, Sittyercity has agreed to share some proceeds with MyAutismTeam each time someone becomes a member – thus helping us keep MyAutismTeam free to parents (and free of ugly ads).
And Get Some Well Deserved Time for Yourself!