From a parent and professional perspective, I know the struggle that parents endure when trying to find the right Habilitation and Respite providers for their child. I've been there, I get it. Having to wait to be matched, finding a provider, the match not lasting for whatever reason, and having to be put back on a matching list. Sometimes it feels like just when things are perfect, life happens and changes need to be made within your team. It can be frustrating, but never give up hope. The perfect team is out there! I have a friend who refers to her team as the "Dream Team." So how does one build their own dream team?
For starters, always make sure AZA United (or any other agency you are working with) has your most current availability and current address! Throughout the valley, there is an abundance of families in need of services and, unfortunately, there just are not enough providers. Make sure you don't miss an opportunity to be matched with a great provider because the agency had outdated information.
Of course, you still may end up waiting for that call while the agency continues its search. During that time, instead of feeling left in the dark, look around! Think about all the people your child encounters on a daily basis, whether at school, daycare or within the community. Your dream team could be right in front of you! Maybe a relative or close friend is interested in working with your child.
If you are not having luck finding a provider from within your community, there are other outlets available. Posting an ad for a position to work with your child often leads to great results and more options for families. Doing your own recruiting allows you to get a feel for potential providers, and rest assured that AZA United will screen any candidate you send our way to make sure they meet all the hiring requirements and have the necessary certifications before working with your child.
Many families have found great success in finding providers from local colleges and universities. Arizona State University offers free job postings for families (click on "post an off-campus part-time job"), and the Maricopa Community Colleges offer $25 job postings. Many neighborhoods also have their own social media groups. Other families utilize websites such as Care.com, Nextdoor, the AZ Autism Network of the West Valley or local newspaper classifieds.
It's true what they say, it really does take a village to raise a child. Feel free to contact Arizona Autism United for further recruiting resources. Here's to finding your Dream Team!