Tell us about your host family.
I live in New York City with my host parents Scott and Julie, and three boys - twins Ben and Josh (7) and Sam (9). Ben and Josh were born prematurely and both have developmental delays, however, Ben has an ASD diagnosis. Given my background in disability support, I primarily look after Ben.
Why did you decide to be a professional au pair?
I had worked in the disability support industry in Australia for almost three years when I joined apex PROaupair. I wanted to work with a reputable agency that specialized in special needs nannying, so apex PROaupair was a perfect fit for me.
What is your favorite thing about being a professional au pair?
I'm passionate about goal achievement through daily living and being able to learn from and collaborate with Ben's school teachers and therapists means that I can not only be the consistent person who oversees all of his therapies, but I can work on certain skills with him at home and help him achieve his personal goals.
For example, one of the highlights so far has been working with his speech and behavior therapists to develop his verbal speech and helping him develop his vocabulary rapidly over the last few months at home using techniques that his therapists have taught me. The skills and experience from that alone have been invaluable!
What are some fun things you've done with your host kids?
We live in Manhattan so we are very lucky that we are so close to so many things! The twins both love the subway so we can often be found in Grand Central or Times Square but above ground, we love New York's many museums, zoos and parks, Coney Island amusement park and the New York aquarium. We have also gone on vacation to Cape Cod twice, as well as Boston and Philadelphia.
What advice do you have for other professional au pairs?
Be grateful, flexible and positive. Being an au pair is tough and sometimes it's easy to forget these things - in fact, I'm writing them now as a reminder to myself! But being grateful for the opportunity to live in someone else's home and having them trust you with their children is something a lot of us take for granted, so it's important to put things into perspective every once in a while.
What advice do you have for host families?
Be grateful, flexible and positive! We work our butts off as au pairs because we love your children as much as you do, so showing us a bit of appreciation every once in a while helps stay motivated to provide the best care possible for your family.
Here's what Chelsea's host mom, Julie, has to say about her wonderful professional au pair.
"We love having Chelsea as our au pair for many reasons. She is hard working, responsible and flexible and so much more than a caregiver. She truly loves our children, especially Ben, and taking care of him is much more than a job for Chelsea. She is extremely involved in his education and therapies and has been integral to all the progress that he has made. We wish that there was not a two year limit!"
Way to go, Chelsea!