Parenthood comes with numerous responsibilities, and it can become even more when you have a child with special needs. Being a parent to a child with special needs requires a lot of attention, patience, and time. However, this does not mean parents should not have a life outside their duties. Side hustles can provide additional income for parents with special needs children while allowing them to spend quality time with their children.

Here are the top 5 side hustles that you can consider.

Online Tutoring as a Side Hustle:

With the increase of online learning, many parents have opted for virtual tuition for their children. Online tutoring platforms allow skilled individuals to offer educational assistance to children from the comfort of their homes. Parents with special needs children can take up online tutoring jobs and shape young minds while earning extra income. Additionally, online tutoring jobs have flexible work hours, allowing parents to plan their schedules around their children's needs.

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What is Online Tutoring?

Online tutoring involves providing one-on-one instruction to students via digital platforms. Tutors can teach various subjects based on their expertise, including math, science, English, or specialized areas such as special education or speech therapy.

Examples of Online Tutoring Businesses 

  1. Language Tutoring: If you're fluent in a second language, you can provide language lessons to students of all ages. If you have a strong background in a particular academic subject, you can offer your services as an online tutor to parents of those students who need extra help.
  2. Language Tutoring: If you're fluent in a second language, you can provide language lessons to students of all ages.

The demand for online tutoring has surged in recent years, with the global online tutoring market expected to reach $132.21 billion by 2024, according to a report by Grand View Research. The increasing acceptance of online learning and parents' desire for personalized, convenient education options for their children.


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Freelance Writing:

Freelance writing is an great side hustle for parents with special needs children who love to write. Freelance writing provides an opportunity to earn money while working from home. It is also relatively easy to begin, and no formal education is required as long as you have writing skills. In addition, freelance writers can choose to work at their own pace, and this flexibility makes it an attractive option for parents with unpredictable schedules.

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What is Freelance Writing?

Freelance writing involves writing content for clients on a contractual, not permanent, basis. As a freelance writer, you can write about various topics in various formats, such as blogs, articles, newsletters, or social media posts.

Examples of Online Tutoring Businesses 

  1. Content Creation for Blogs/Websites: Many businesses need quality content for their blogs or websites to engage their audience and improve SEO. If you can produce compelling, informative content, this niche has ample opportunity.
  2. Copywriting: Copywriters create persuasive content to prompt readers to take a specific action, like purchasing a product. This could involve writing product descriptions, advertising copy, or email marketing campaigns.


Have you thought about starting your online store? E-commerce has increased over the past few years, and starting an online store has never been more accessible. Being a parent to a child with special needs can be financially draining.

Creating an online store that caters to your child's needs can turn a passion project into a profitable venture. Also, parents can choose to work with other parents of children with special needs to create products or services that serve to their specific needs, allowing them to tap into a niche market.

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What is E-commerce?
E-commerce, or electronic commerce, refers to the buying and selling goods or services using the Internet. It also involves the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions. With the increase of platforms like Etsy, eBay, and Shopify, starting an e-commerce business has become more accessible than ever.

Examples of E-commerce Businesses

  1. Handmade Crafts: If you're creative, consider selling handmade items. This could range from jewelry and clothing to home decor and art. A platform like Etsy is perfect for this type of business.
  2. Print-on-Demand Products: Websites like Printful or Zazzle allow you to design your products (t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc.) and sell them without worrying about inventory or shipping.


Pet-sitting is a great way to earn extra cash and a flexible side hustle for parents with special needs children. As a parent, you can determine your schedule and which pets you look after. Pet-sitting is an excellent side hustle if you love animals and enjoy spending time outdoors. It is also relatively easy to kick off, and you can advertise your services through social media, referrals, and pet-sitting websites.

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What is a Pet-Sitting Business?

A pet-sitting business involves taking care of pets while their owners are away. Services can range from feeding and walking to overnight stays or extended care during vacations.

Examples of Pet-Sitting Businesses

  1. Dog Walking: If you like dogs and enjoy being active, starting a dog-walking service can be a fantastic way to earn extra income.
  2. Overnight Pet Sitting: Some pet owners prefer to have their pets cared for in their homes while away. As an overnight pet sitter, you'd move into the client's home for a specified time to care for their pets.
    The pet care industry is booming. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent over $103.6 billion on their pets in 2020, with pet services like grooming and boarding accounting for $8.1 billion. As more people adopt pets and treat them as family members, the demand for quality pet care services is expected to grow.
side hustle for families with special needs is pet sitting


Photography offers a creative outlet and can be an excellent way to earn additional income. Initiating a photography business could be the perfect fit for parents of special needs children seeking a flexible and fulfilling side hustle.

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What is a Photography Business?

A photography business involves offering photography services in exchange for payment. As a photographer, you can specialize in various types of photography based on your skills and interests.

Examples of Photography Businesses

  1. Portrait Photography: This involves taking photos of individuals or groups, often for special occasions like graduations, engagements, or family portraits.
  2. Event Photography: Event photographers capture moments at events such as weddings, birthdays, and corporate functions.
  3. Product Photography: If you have a knack for making products look great on camera, consider offering product photography services to businesses for their websites or catalogs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for photographers will continue to be strong, particularly for those specializing in specific niches. As a photographer, your earnings will vary depending on your specialization, experience, and the number of gigs you secure. However, a photography business can significantly boost your income with dedication and skill.

In conclusion, being a parent with a special needs child has many challenges. However, finding a balance between caregiving and personal life is essential. These top 5 side hustles are perfect for parents with special needs children as they provide an opportunity to earn income while working from home and having flexible schedules.

Finding a side hustle that suits their specific skills and interests can improve their financial state while providing an avenue for self-fulfillment. Regardless of the side hustle, parents should ensure that the caregivers' duties do not become overwhelming by taking on too much at once.

This post is for educational purposes only and is not intended to guarantee, or promise any type of outcome.

The Austism Voyage blog is committed to sharing valuable information with our readers as well as practical insights and resources that can help families prepare for success, especially those with special needs.

About the Author(s)

Michael Pereira
After spending years in Corporate America, Michael was hit with COVID and suddenly realized the importance of having a plan that extended beyond just the usual Business Plans. This realization became even more significant when Michael's son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2022.

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