As the end of the school year approaches, many teens will start thinking about getting a summer job. Besides the money they can earn, they will learn a sense of responsibility as well as have the opportunity to develop greater self-esteem, practice communication with others and sharpen their skills.
Wilma Fellman, M.Ed., LPC, writing for ADDitude magazine,offers these suggestions to parents to help prepare their ADHD child for the workplace environment.
- Identify the right job – It is especially important that your child should choose a summer job as carefully. Ideally, the job will play to his strengths. Make sure it matches up to his interests and attention capacity. He will also want to work in a well-organized workplace and for a boss who seems patient.
- Alter your child’s routine before the job begins – Kids with ADHD are far more dependent on routines than others. Altering a child’s schedule could upset important sleep habits and medication times. To help with the transition, change your child’s routine a week or two before his job’s start date. Wake him up earlier and send him to bed earlier. Be sure that meals and medication coincide with his new schedule.
- Help your child understand his responsibilities – Encourage him to talk to his employer about how she defines a good worker. He should ask questions about his individual job tasks and the work environment: What rules are enforced? Is tardiness tolerated? Is it acceptable to leave precisely at quitting time? What’s the dress code? Whom will he will report to? Is it OK to take notes (or carry a small tape recorder) when policies and procedures are explained? He might also ask about what constitutes going “beyond the call of duty.” Discuss these matters with your child to ensure that he understands what will be expected of him.
If you are not sure where to start in terms of finding the right job for your ADHD teen, check out the article by Peg Rose, in Understood.org. She identifies 9 great first-time jobs for teens with attention issues, and discusses how each of those jobs can utilize the strengths of the child.
If you have a college age child who is in the early stages of launching his or her career, this video featuring Dr. Ned Hallowell has some useful tips for them.
How to Grab the Best Job for an ADHD Brain!