The Perfect Match

How to help your child with ADHD choose a summer job that plays to his strengths.

In a summer job or a lifelong career, the key to success is matching the right employee to the right job. Encourage your child to choose a job based on his individual strengths and weaknesses – not on a salary or perks – and you’ll increase the chances for a positive, skill-building experience. Here are tips to help with the search.

  • Understand job tasks. The more your child knows about a job before she begins it, the more likely she is to succeed. Web sites like SnagAJob.com list a variety of jobs with detailed descriptions – tasks, age requirements, hours, wages, scheduling, and locations – to help greenhorns decide whether prospective jobs are right for them. If your child is social, but not particularly detail-oriented, she might pass on the administrative job at the bank, and opt to be a “character” for parties at Chuck E. Cheese.
  • Consider special interests. A passion for her work can help soften your child’s ADHD symptoms. If she loves music, she might thrive as a sales associate at a CD shop, but be bored at a hardware store.
  • Observe the work environment. If you see the realities of the job setting, you can spot – and troubleshoot – potential issues. If multi-tasking poses challenges for your child, she might sign on as an intern at a non-profit instead of an administrative assistant in a busy advertising agency.
  • Consider attention span. If your child has trouble staying focused, help her select a job that involves short-term tasks. Instead of being a research assistant, she might become a camp counselor.

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