sah vs work with a special needs baby?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2007
sah vs work with a special needs baby?
Sat, 06-23-2007 - 2:30pm

I run an in home daycare and I have 3 young children of my own.

This is just a what if question, not a real situation (at least not one I am in).

If you had a special needs baby would you stay at home or would you go back to work? Does it depend on anything and if so what?

I don't know what I would do. I mean I feel like I have the total ideal situation right now, I get to be home with my 3 kids everyday and watch them grow up while still bringing in an income. So if I had a special needs baby I think that I would continue to do what I am doing. Just thought it might make an interesting topic.



iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2006
Sat, 06-23-2007 - 2:38pm

For me the decision would be made in the same way as with a non special needs child (whatever works best for the situation) but having a special needs child could add complications.

There could be more expences with a special needs child so could swing things to the WOH side.

On the other had finding childcare for a special needs child could be hard (or more costly) so that could swing things to the SAH side.

(BTW we have at least two regulars on the board that have special needs children).

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Sat, 06-23-2007 - 3:41pm

This totally depends on the level of care the child needs. I have two nephews with special needs. One has Down syndrome, and his mom is a high level manager. She really needs to work, because not all of the interventions are covered and because they live in a really expensive area. So they have a nanny and she has a flexible schedule. But she is so stressed that she has been physically ill for a year now (currently recovering from shingles). If I were in her shoes, I might consider moving and find another way to structure my life.

By contrast, my other nephew has high functioning autism. His mom, an RN, quit work so that she could homeschool him. But he is a complete wreck. There's too much going on in that house to post here, but I think he really needs to be with typically functioning kids to learn some social skills. So if I were in her shoes, I'd put him in public school, where he would get a lot more interventions than he gets now, and go back to work at least part time.

I just don't think you know what you'll do until you're in that situation. Children with special needs require varying levels of care, and plenty of parents burn out trying to make things run smoothly. Work can be both a respite for them and another burden.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2005
Sat, 06-23-2007 - 5:09pm
I think it would depend on how much my income was needed. Right now, I would have to go to work and find GREAT care for the child. It is not something I would want but would HAVE to do to pay the medical bills.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2000
Sat, 06-23-2007 - 10:11pm

When we found out that our 2nd dd couldn't handle daycare, I quit woh and started working at home. We went on and homeschooled her. On the other hand, the daycare that our ds, Dylan, went to has cared for special needs children--autism, hearing impaired, asthma. It would really depend on what the needs are. I could see where if you had a special needs child, you would have to stop the in home daycare business because your child, depending on her needs, would take up too much of your time during the day. There would have been no way that I could have cared for other children when Erica was young. As it was, our family life revolved around Erica and her needs to a great extent.


The truth may be out there but lies are in your head. Terry Pratchett

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2005
Sat, 06-23-2007 - 10:44pm

I have a friend from college who was a CFO of her company. She is a CPA and used to work for one of the "big 10" accounting firms. SHe went to a private company and became CFO. She was making a lot of oney. Her dh is successful but she probably made $40,000 or more a year than he did. they had ahuge "McMansion" and all the bells and whistles.

They had their first child at 35. She was very premature and has several problems including CP, retardation, FTT, etc. She gets a ton of therapy but she will never be able to go to a mainstream school, etc.

She tried going back to work (they were very nice and supportive) but she just could not manange Her dd needs constant stimuation and interaction.

They are now selling their home and downsizing, selling some stocks, etc. She says it will be a t least a few years before she can leave her in a special program.

I am sure it can be done but I think the severity of the disability , finances and income would play a factor.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2000
Sat, 06-23-2007 - 11:18pm

I did have a special needs baby, and I ended up staying home with him until he was almost 4.

I think the answer to your question, though, would be that it would depend on the specifics of the situation. "Special needs" covers such a broad spectrum of would really depend on the child's condition, what kind of treatment he needed, etc.

My son had to have PT & OT 3-5 times per week for the first few years of his life. At the time, I felt that there was no way I could have made that happen if I'd worked. I was a single mom with no one available to help with the therapy, so I just sucked it up, lived with my parents and got a job later on. I really, really regret that I didn't find a way to WOH, but we all know about hindsight, right?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2006
Sun, 06-24-2007 - 7:05am

I think, like every OTHER decision regarding SAH vs WOH, it depends on the family, the members, the situation, the environment, the availability of appropriate care and the amount of support from family and friends. Other that the *kinds* of issues that require addressing, I don't see the decision in the case of the special needs baby to be different than for any other baby. In the end, there's no One Size Fits All.

Never was, never will be.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2006
Sun, 06-24-2007 - 8:00pm

i have a special needs child and continued to woh for a variety of reasons. One was because I enjoyed working. Two, she did well in othercare. three, as a special needs child she was eligible to enter school at 3 years old. Four, I carried the health insurance and we certainly couldn't afford to lose that. five, we couldn't afford to lose my income either.

My dd is 13 now and we are doing a bat-mitzvah for her next Sat.


Avatar for myshkamouse
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 06-24-2007 - 9:47pm

If you had a special needs baby would you stay at home or would you go back to work? Does it depend on anything and if so what?"

I don't know! I'm pregnant with my third now and have no intention of being a full time SAHM. I'm going to take 5-6 months off, then go back part time, mostly working from home.
I will likely go back to full time when all the kids are all a bit older. Maybe the youngest around 8 or 9.

"I mean I feel like I have the total ideal situation right now, I get to be home with my 3 kids everyday and watch them grow up while still bringing in an income."

So because I work outside the home I'm *not* watching my kids grow up? I know you likely didnt mean it that way but I would just say that I'm watching my kids grow up too. I'm spending lots of time with them, but not all day, every day.
Does your DH work? Is he missing them growing up?

" So if I had a special needs baby I think that I would continue to do what I am doing. Just thought it might make an interesting topic."

Wouldnt it depend on the needs? You might not have the time to care for say a quadrapalegic child and run an in home day care. I think of that scenario as I have a friend with three kids...the oldest who is 15 is quadrapalegic and mentally at the same level as a 3 year old. Her 8 year old and 4 year old are perfectly healthy. She has full time round the clock care for her oldest...I can't *imagine* a DC running in her home!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Sun, 06-24-2007 - 9:56pm

just curious what your dd's condition is if you don't mind sharing....and with all due respect,finding out my dd1's diagnosis was sort of the trigger for me to sah. i had a super,super sitter when i worked but i remember picking her up and hearing symptoms that i knew had to mean something. and once i was able to put a name iwht her condition,i knew i had to/wanted to be more available for her. that's just me and my reasons for sah,though.

having the choice to chose a nanny for your child is remarkable,especially if there's a special need for it.