Childcare for Children with Special Needs


If you have a special needs child you would like to bring along on your next trip to Las Vegas, but worried about whether it would be appropriate, your apprehension is understandable. It is also commendable that you are putting the needs of your child first and recognizing that the caregiver you select must be capable of doing the same. Ideally, it should be someone who is sufficiently trained and experienced in the care of children whose special needs are similar to yours. However, it is equally important that the caregiver is flexible, adaptable, and non-judgmental and has a warm and engaging personality. Many special needs children are shy and unresponsive in the presence of strangers, while others might test a new person by being unruly and uncooperative, so gaining these youngsters' trust isn't easy and will require patience and empathy.

Which would be a better type of childcare arrangement, bringing your special needs child to a childcare center which provides group activities or hiring an individual nanny to come to your hotel room to look after and spend time with your child? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer. On the one hand, individualized education programs (IEPs) today emphasize the importance of mainstreaming whenever possible, to give these kids needed exposure to and opportunity to interact with other kids, and also to give the latter a needed lesson in tolerance. On the other hand, non-English speaking kids, LGBT kids, and kids with a medical or mental illness or physical, intellectual disability, or behavioral problems might need more individual attention than some facilities are capable of providing. Alternatively, if you go the other route and rely on the services of an individual caretaker, you are taking a chance that the person lacks the training, expertise, and dedication to provide the high level of care your child may require. If an emergency situation were to arise that an inexperienced babysitter fails to recognize as such, the consequences could be disastrous. This section presents examples of both types of childcare services (individualized and group) where special needs children are welcome and which you can count on to go above and beyond to give your child the extra level of care he or she requires.

Difference between a Babysitter and a Nanny

Sometimes the terms "babysitter" and nanny" ae used interchangeably. But while there are a lot of similarities, there are also some basic differences.

A babysitter's primary task is to watch the kids, play with them, and possibly put them to bed. Many, but not all, babysitters are trained in CPR and First Aid. They usually work on an hourly basis.

A nanny must not only be fully capable of providing custodial care, but must also have some basic knowledge of child development, which can be utilized to create a suitable program of activities that are age or developmental level appropriate and are good for the child physically, mentally, and emotionally. In other words, nannies don't just watch the children entrusted to their care, but also interact with them. Nannies may have other responsibilities such as housekeeping, meal preparation, and driving children to and from appointments, particularly if they live with the family, in which case they might be paid a salary with benefits rather than an hourly wage. However, the nanny services described here are more limited, for a few hours or a single day only and, like babysitting services, paid by the hour.

Because nannies have more responsibilities than babysitters, the rates are higher. Many nannies, besides being trained in basic safety, have additional training in child care plus many years of actual nanny experience.

The care of special needs children takes more skill and training than most workers who describe themselves as babysitters may be able to provide. Therefore, a part time nanny, even though it will cost more, is a better option.

Individual Nannies Who Come to Your Hotel

Having a nanny who will come to your hotel to take care of your child or children while you are away is certainly a lot more convenient than traveling twice to a separate facility, first to drop them off and later to pick them up. However, the cost can be substantial and will probably be even higher for last minute bookings or if your child's special needs are very complicated. In return, you do have reasonable assurance that the level of short-term care is probably as good as, if not better than, that provided at a top-rated childcare center. The following are three services in the Las Vegas area which you can contact to arrange for a nanny who is trained in the care of special needs children to come to your hotel.

Nannies & Housekeepers USA - 3585 East Flamingo, Suite 204, Las Vegas, NV 89121. 1-702-451-0021.

Nannies & Housekeepers USA is an award winning member of the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies. In fact, it is the same agency that is used by concierges at the finest hotels in Las Vegas when guests request assistance in arranging childcare. However, if you prefer, or you are staying at a hotel where concierge nanny referral service is not available, you can make the arrangements yourself.

Nannies & Housekeepers USA started out in 2000 as an employment agency placing nannies and housekeepers. Then, owner Lexy Lionel got the idea that some nannies might also wish to supplement their incomes working nights and weekends. So Nannies and Housekeepers extended their services to hotel guests in need of quality childcare during the course of their stay. Services can be requested, with a four hour minimum, for whatever block of time is times needed, 24/7.

All candidates for employment go through rigorous scrutiny, including criminal and sex offender checks, drug screening, Social Security verification, and driving history. They must be at least 20 years old and have at least two years of experience. Then, only if they pass the initial screening, they are invited back for an interview for further consideration, and references are checked as well. Then, if accepted, prior to starting work, prospective employees must complete an in-house training program and have current CPR and First Aid certification.

The process for booking a nanny through Nannies & Housekeepers USA is as follows:

  • Call or book online at least four hours in advance, informing of them of when their services will be needed and your child's age, special needs, and any other pertinent information. Last minute reservations made with shorter notice can also be accommodated, depending on availability.
  • You will receive an email confirmation and the resume and photo of the nanny assigned for your child.
  • The nanny will arrive at your hotel as scheduled.
  • Rates: $45/hour for a ratio of 1 to 3 nannies per child. Minimum time 4 hours

At the time of booking, your major credit card will be charged an additional non-refundable fee of $15 ($30 for last minute bookings), and your card will also be pre-authorized for 4 hours of service, but not charged until the next business day after service.

Families requesting a full day's services (e.g., more than 7 hours) or visiting Las Vegas frequently can save money by joining the Red Carpet Club for an annual membership fee of $69. The hourly rate then drops to $35/hour with a 4-hour minimum.

It would be worth a call to describe your child's special needs and see if the agency can provide a suitable match. If the service works out for you, then you can request the same nanny again on future bookings.

Each nanny brings along a "Mary Poppins bag" containing age appropriate toys, games, music, and DVDs. The objective is to make the experience as much fun as possible for every child.

BrightStar Care of Nevada - 1-702-982-2273.

While BrightStar Care of Nevada - Las Vegas is primarily a service for families living in the Las Vegas area, it also offers fully certified and licensed babysitting or nanny services for visitors where the caregiver comes to the hotel where the family is staying. BrightStarCare in Las Vegas carries the gold seal of approval from the Joint Commission, an indication that the agency meets the highest standards for quality childcare. All caregiver applicants undergo rigorous screening prior to being accepted. In addition, prior to being assigned to a particular child, the caregiver's qualifications and competencies are verified by a RN. In each instance, the agency tries to find the best fit based on both parents' preferences and the child's specific needs.

BrightStar Care of Nevada not only provides fully screened babysitting and nanny services 24/7, but also employs workers who are specially trained professionals to look after children with special needs. These individuals have experience taking care of children with such varied conditions as autism, spina bifida, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and cerebral palsy.

Some of the special services BrightStar Care nannies can offer include:

  • Care and support of twins, triplets, etc.
  • Newborn and infant care
  • Bathing, toileting, dressing and undressing, and oral and personal hygiene
  • Playing games
  • Arts and crafts
  • Assistance with reading

The hourly fee depends on the length of time services are being provided: $40/hour for 1 hour, $30/hour for 2 hours, and $21-$24 /hour for 3 hours or more.

For more information and to arrange care for your child, complete the online form or call 1-702-982-2273. - is an online network which connects families in need of childcare with caregivers looking for work. itself does not employ, recommend or endorse any of the individuals or agencies registered with the site or assume responsibility for the quality of the service provided. It is simply a resource to help you connect with possible babysitters or nannies for your children and provide you with sufficient information to help you make your own informed decision about whom to hire.

If you have a special needs child who will be accompanying you on a trip to Las Vegas and would like to see if can help you locate a caregiver, these are the steps to follow.

First, post your job on the website, outlining your needs. The site guarantees responses within three days. Then, three days before the services will actually be needed, review the profiles of the candidates whose names you have received. Conduct preliminary background checks on those that interest you and narrow down your choices to the top contenders. You can then check references and request an interview with the most promising candidates along with a Preferred Background Check.

The disadvantage is that obviously all of these steps take time, which you probably won't have unless you plan to be in Las Vegas for a week or longer. Finding a suitable caretaker through could be a more viable option for parents to locate and line up a person whose services might come in handy on a future trip.

Childcare Center Especially for LGBT Kids (All Kids Welcome)

Kid's Cave - 4820 W. Warmsprings Road, Enterprise, NV 89118. 1-702-724-1668. or

Las Vegas is very welcoming of the LGBT community, but some of these parents might be concerned how well their kids will be accepted. Unfortunately, not every place where these children may be in contact with other children, including at a childcare center, can guarantee that LGBT kids won't be teased or made to feel uncomfortable. One bad experience can ruin the whole trip for a young, impressionable child. However, the LGBT-friendly Kid's Cave, the first LGBT early childhood learning center in Las Vegas, welcomes not only LGBT kids for classroom activity and childcare, but all preschool age children. Kid's Cove is located in Enterprise, NV, about a 13 minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip hotels.

This reviewer verified that the center accepts single day visits by preschool age children who are visiting the Las Vegas area, with 24 hour advance notice, provided there is space. The present capacity is only four children (which will be increased to 6 as soon as the center receives its permanent license).

  • Ages: 2-5. However, for one day, the center will also take 1-year-olds and 7-year olds.
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Recommended arrival time is at 8 a.m. for either a half-day (till noon) or a full day (to 6 p.m.) or at 2 p.m. for a half-day (to 6 p.m.)
  • Rates: $15 for a half-day or $30 for a full day.

Children, regardless of gender, are welcome to play with either "girl" toys or "boy" toys. In addition, books are read to them about families with two mothers or fathers. While the program is thus clearly geared to LGBT children, it is not restricted to them; all children are welcome.

Lunch is served at 11 a.m. The center provides morning and afternoon snacks, but children must bring their own lunch. The time period between 12 noon and 2 pm. is set aside as nap time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Childcare for Children with Special Needs Who are Visiting Las Vegas?

What kinds of childcare services are available for special needs children visiting Las Vegas with their parents?

While there are many schools, learning centers, and day care programs for special needs children who live in Las Vegas, few if any of them accept visiting children just for one day. Some hotel-based or drop-off childcare centers might be better equipped than others to handle children with special needs so you would need to check beforehand if the facility would be appropriate for your child. Actually very few hotels have their own childcare facilities, and those that do might not be capable of providing the extra individualized attention that some children need. If your child is severely handicapped either physically or mentally or prone to disruptive behavior, a private nanny with special training working with children with similar deficits would probably be a better choice than either a hotel-based or drop off center responsible for a group of children.

What are the advantages of using a nanny service for children with special needs?

When you use a nanny service, there is a greater likelihood of being matched with a caregiver who has specific training and experience providing care to children who are similar to yours. This is especially important with special needs children who might be more difficult to manage than most other children. Nannies tend to be more invested in providing quality care and willing to go above and beyond their minimum expected responsibilities to make the experience for the child as enjoyable as possible. And in the event of any emergency, they will know what to do to make sure the child's health and safety aren't jeopardized.

There are several other advantages to using a nanny service. One is that the nanny comes to your hotel room so you are free to leave the hotel and do as you please and don't have to bother dropping off and picking up your child. Also, these services, unlike most group childcare facilities, are generally offered 24/7, so if you want some alone time in the evening, it is not a problem. In addition, nanny services are for children of all ages. And if you have several children, each receives individual attention.

What are the disadvantages of using a nanny service for children with special needs?

Because this type of care is one-on-one, the benefit of social interaction with other kids is missing. However, the arrangement is only for a few hours so probably the offsetting benefit of individual attention is more important on this one occasion. The major disadvantage to using a nanny service is that it is expensive. Some families may not be able to afford it.