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Special needs and cerebral palsy


Hello everyone! I am in nursing school and will be graduating in May. I plan to specialize in pediatrics or psychiatric peds. I have spent much of my career prior to nursing working with special needs, particularly cerebral palsy. I was wondering if anyone could give me insight to what kind of jobs I could find working specifically with special needs? I have worked with many populations other than CP, including behavioral (which I love), but I'm not sure what I could do with this. My ideal job in the distant future will be starting a daycare for medically fragile children and/or children with behavioral problems. If anyone could offer some information I would be very grateful! :)

I recently work as a residential RN for an agency that serves the developmentally disabled population in group homes. Out of 28 houses within the agency I am responsible for the medical oversite in 2 houses that have about 12-14 individuals. Each week I travel the houses and oversee the guys medical appointments. I am on call Monday through Friday for phone triage to answer questions from the direct care staff who are at the houses with the individuals. I never knew this type of nursing existed before I stumbled upon this position. It is very rewarding and there is always more room for growth. Look into agencies in your area. Once I learned of this specific feild of nursing, I found there were a lot of agencies like mine. Good luck and God bless


Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 33 years experience.

You might consider doing some private duty work with a developmentally delayed child - those children are medically fragile with compromised mobility, issues related to pre-term birth, hereditary diseases like muscular dystrophy and congenital diagnoses, status-post traumatic injury of some sort and though I am not directly familiar with these patients, psych diagnoses. You may accompany a child to school as well.

I found the job a treasure trove of things to learn about family dynamics as well. Some of the families don't need one on one nursing care, but shorter visits for specific reasons such as labs, patient/parent teaching, wound care, etc.

Being the case manager is another possibility, if you can find an agency that is willing to give you the support and adequate orientation you'll need starting out. Best wishes to you!

I am an LPN graduate (graduated in July) and I just landed my first job! It's PRN at a group home facility. I'm really excited and it was job that had no ad for employment anywhere, someone just referred me and it worked out! Good luck to you


Specializes in peds palliative care and hospice.

Where do you live? I used to be in Florida and worked at a PPEC - Perscribed Pediatric Extended Care. It was a daycare with therapists (ST, OT, PT) and a nurse and CNA in each room. I personally hated it, but if you live near one it might be a good position for you

Good luck!


Specializes in Early Intervention, Nsg. Education. Has 27 years experience.

Have you considered Early Intervention/Birth to Three? If you're looking for work with kids and families but not necessarily private duty or school nursing, EI is worth a try. I had to resign in 2005 due to illness, but EI was my "dream job" and I could easily have stayed there until retirement! My duties included day care development screening, intakes, multidisciplinary developmental assessments, service coordination, monitoring visits, transition to the public schools, and lots more. My favorite part about EI: once I'm in someone's home, for the next 60 to 90 minutes I don't have to think about anything or anyone but this child and their family! Amazing.

Have you considered Early Intervention/Birth to Three? I think EI nursing is one of the best kept secrets of pedi nursing. Most of the kids coming out of NICU are referred to EI: preemies of all ages and stages, medically fragile/technology dependent, genetic conditions, birth defects, s/p NAS, vision and/or hearing impairments, Autism, FTT, DCF referrals, anything and everything you can imagine. I've had the opportunity to work with kids with all kinds of rare conditions, like Progeria, Ondine, short gut, congenital limb differences r/t amniotic bands, and about half of the metabolic disorders in the newborn screening. Job description includes developmental screenings at day cares, intakes, multidisciplinary developmental assessments, service coordination, monitoring visits, transition to the public schools, and lots more. It's a M-F 9 to 5 job with no weekends or holidays, snow days when the school system cancels, lots of flexibility and autonomy. My favorite part about EI: once I'm in someone's home, I don't have to think about anything or anyone but this child and family for the entire 60 to 90 minute visit! :) The downsides: lots of driving, just like VNA positions, and the pay didn't come anywhere close to what I was making in acute care. For me, it was worth the lower stress level, though. I got started in EI after about 15 years in acute care. I also have an Ed degree, so there was lots of overlap with teaching. Certification is done through on-the-job training and lots of workshops. Here are a few resources with more info (regulations differ a bit from state to state:)

Effective Practices in Early Intervention â€" National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities



CEC | Home The Council for Exceptional Children (offers competency program and accreditation to EI clinicians and ECE’s)

Take Care :)

Wow! All of your posts were extremely helpful and offered information about positions I didn't know existed. Thank you so much! I am definitely interested in early intervention, but I wasn't sure what I could do with that in nursing. I live in Pittsburgh, PA and we have a similar place to PPEC. It sounds wonderful! I truly appreciate your advice and suggestions. I will take them to heart and consider the possibilities. :)


Specializes in Home Health/PD.

Do you have a state run behavioral facility close by? We have one locally and they have a program for children and adolescents with psych issues that come from all over the state. I have heard these institutions are also getting phased out, but it might be worth a look into.

I am an LVN private duty pediatric nurse for a home health company. I take care of 2 children in the same home, both with cerebral palsy and other medical and physical disabilities. I enjoy it. My only problem with it is its pretty repetitive and not much of a challenge. I come to the home and do the same thing every shift unless one of them is sick. It pays very well though lol. Good luck