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Being employed can be difficult for special needs parents due to many obligations that happen during a regular business hours such as making calls to coordinate services, getting to therapy and medical appointments, or phone calls and meetings with schools.
Add business travel into the mix, and it means managing logistics, leaving another parent, family member or caregiver to fly solo in addition to one more transition for your child. Not to mention the overwhelming guilt.
I have a job where I can work from home 80% of the time, the other 20% I travel, usually for 4 days at a time. It took a lot of soul-searching to decide to stay with my company.
The truth is, I love what I do and it affords my family the opportunity to supplement our daughter’s care with therapies and programs that are not covered by insurance.
Email and web cams have made it much easier for office work to be completed from home. I love the flexibility that it gives me – with good time management, I can make or take phone calls as I need to, while still meeting timelines, goals and objectives for my company. Working from home gives me the balance I need to support my family and career.
Being away from home and your special needs child can be scary, but with some practice and planning, it can be done successfully.
It took some pre-work to be able to get off the ground without a meltdown. Talking about travel 3 to 4 days ahead. Reading our book about a mom who travels for work. Sometimes my kids make a picture, pick out stuffed animal or something small for me to take in my suitcase. I send silly pictures and talk with them in the evenings before bed. We make a list of what they will remind Dad about. We’ve created a routine around my travel – to make it easier for all of us.
Tips for Success
- Use a book or social story to help with the travel transition
- Download apps like Skype or Face time on your smart phone
- Write down what’s important to maintain routine – times, favorite foods, songs, games, etc. so they can be carried out in your absence.
- Let the school know before you go- the transition could impact behavior
- Set aside some time when you return to do something special – play a game, do a craft, get pizza -1:1 time where you can hear about your child’s week and catch up
Read our article for more information about working parents with a special needs child.