Ask the Experts

Q: My Teen Wants to Be a Video Game Designer. Is This Realistic?

So, your teen wants to be a video game designer when he grows up. Should you encourage him? Yes, in fact, it’s a great job for an ADHD brain. But more important than his coding skills will be his abilities to listen to others’ ideas, to communicate positively, and to improve based on others’ feedback. This is where the real ADHD challenges lay.

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Q: “My son’s only career aspiration is to be a video game or app designer one day. He has combined-type ADHD and really struggles with receiving constructive feedback, doing group work in school, and listening to others’ ideas. I’ve explained to him that, when you work in the tech field, you have to work collaboratively with other people and in any job people might not be receptive to your ideas. He has this fantasy that he’s going to be creating video games and everyone will follow his lead. He needs to understand that no one wants to deal with an inflexible person, particularly a co-worker. I’m not sure at 14 he can understand this. What would be your advice to help him learn how to be more receptive to others’ ideas and be more flexible overall?”

A: “The Number One thing you’re going to have to do is make your brain be flexible. That means using your brain coach — that voice in your head that helps you get through things that are difficult or boring — to listen to other people’s ideas and not always assume that your ideas are the best. You have to make your brain flexible enough to work in teams of people, to listen to lots of ideas, to be OK when other people don’t want to use your ideas, and to keep in mind your co-workers thoughts and feelings…”

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Video Game Designer Aspirations? Next Steps

1. Read This: 16 Great Jobs for People with ADHD
2. Read This: ADHD Teens and Work: How to Succeed on the Job
3. Download This: How to Transform Your Teen’s Apathy Into Engagement


Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Ryan specializes in working with males (ages 5-22) who present with ADHD, anxiety with ADHD, and learning differences; he is the one professional in the United States who specializes in teaching social cognitive skills to boys from a male perspective.

Submit your questions about ADHD in boys here!

Updated on January 17, 2020

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  1. I went to school for game development (back before i was diagnosed with ADHD) because I thought, sweet i love videogames, i want to make them.
    I’d say if you are truly dedicated then go for it but i learned right away after college that it is a lot more work than just liking videogames. It is long hours and hard work. That and you have to make sure you choose your path you want. Are you a level designer, programmer, concept artist, QA tester (not as easy as you think). There are so many parts to it and i think a lot of people who had the mindset i did, don’t realize just how much work goes into creating games. A lot of places also want people who have studio experience and that can be hard to get in to.
    So my advice would be for your son to truly think about it and look into jobs and see if they are really something he wants to get in to.

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