Find a new support worker before school goes back

A young woman with Down syndrome working on computer with a colleague.

Back to school time always comes around so quickly and before you know it, you’re adjusting to a whole new grade, new friends, new teachers and new activities. Support is always available through Mable to help with those adjustments and we thought we’d put together a list of specific things you may not have thought of, that would be super helpful for you and your child. Even better, connect with a support worker on Mable during the school holidays so everyone gets to know each other before school starts.

Getting ready to start – or go back to – school

If it’s your child’s first year at preschool or school, they may need some help around what’s involved. And if you have a child who is going back to school, this kind of support comes in handy too.

A support worker can coach your child on building independence so that they can do things for themselves and achieve a sense of pride at the same time. There’s breakfast to prepare, getting dressed, tying shoelaces, packing a school bag, making the bed and checking to make sure homework is packed. Getting into a smooth routine makes for a happy morning at home which then flows on to a great start to the school day.

The support worker can also help establish an after-school routine so that homework is done, lunch boxes are out of bags, uniforms are hung up and permission forms are handed over. A well-prepared child is a happy, confident child!

Travel training to get to and from school safely

When it’s time for your child to step up to that extra level of independence and find their own way to school, travel training is key. A support worker can help them learn about online journey planners for public transport, how and where to top up their public transport payment account and which service would be best for them – bus, train, tram, ferry or taxi. Their support worker can even accompany them a few times to make sure everything runs smoothly and they’re comfortable with the trip, accessibility considerations and the social aspect.

Extracurricular activities

What kinds of activities is your child into? Schools offer such a huge array of extracurricular activities that cater to all tastes, interests and abilities including sport, music, drama, debating, dance and even gardening. And then there are the amazing options outside of school itself: community sports, language classes, tutoring, learning an instrument, swimming, martial arts, circus skills, leadership, Scouts, Girl Guides, self-defence, science … the list is endless.

Sometimes, new experiences can be overwhelming so a support worker can be helpful in keeping kids calm and engaged. Your child may need help with homework around their extracurricular activities or they may need some gentle assistance in processing the events of the day.

School pickups and drop-offs

Ah yes, the good old school run! Isn’t it great to know that you could find a support worker on Mable who is available to ferry your child to and from school and their out-of-school-hours activities? Perhaps they just need help getting out the door and to their bus or train. Otherwise, transporting them from school to rehearsals, training, dance class or swimming lessons might be all that’s needed. You might also want them to prepare an after-school snack and get them started on homework.

Support workers come in very handy for these essential functions, especially if you have other children to get organised for kindy or school.

Book a couple of trial shifts to find the right fit

When you find someone new to work with, it’s a good idea to book a couple of trial shifts to make sure your child gets along with them. They’ll have the opportunity to meet, have some fun, try some activities and chat. Sometimes it takes a little while before people ‘gel’ and kids often need time to feel comfortable with a new support worker.

Searching for new support workers

Whatever your child’s particular needs, you’ll be able to search for new support workers on Mable based on the services they offer and the type of Care Worker they are (e.g. Nurse, Personal Care, Social and Domestic Care). You can also search based on experience to find someone just right. For instance, in the ‘Experience’ filter of the search page, over thirty conditions are listed including autism, vision impairment, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities and cerebral palsy. From there, you can further filter your search based on interests, religion, cultural background and more.

Alternatively, you can post a job on Mable, describing your child’s needs, interests and personality and you’ll hear back from support workers who feel they would be ideal.