Thursday, April 28, 2011

Job Outlook for Teens w/ Disabilities

Guess I should just write job outlook for teens in general.  Doesn't really matter if you have a disability or not, jobs are hard to come by.  I have 3 teens in this house right now.  Irina is 18yo, Max is 16yo, and Yana is 15yo.  All have challenges they must adapt to in order to work.  I haven't thought much about jobs for them until recently.  See, last night Yana went w/ a friend and her mom.  They stopped off at Chick Filet.  Picked up an application.  She was excited and I did want to be excited for her.  However, I also had to give her the reality check and that's always hard for any teen to swallow. 

Yana has what I call a few invisible disabilities.  Of course FASD is known as the invisible disability anyhow.  But she also has CAPD and RAD.  RAD doesn't really come into play here much.  Believe it or not, the CAPD(central auditory processing disorder) does.  She can hear.  She just has trouble processing what is said in noisy environments or anywhere w/ background noise.  Yana's is extremely severe is what the ENT said.  This was the only place in the triangle that even tested for CAPD.  Put it this way, she can't really follow dinner conversations at our table.  Everything has to be repeated.  Now, try that in a retail or restaurant type setting for a starter job & see what happens to you.  There would only be so much they'd take.  I know Yana does not understand this.  Lots and lots of repeating goes on w/ Yana and lots of misunderstood words in this house.  It's hard.  In an entry level job setting, this will most likely not work out so well.  In addition, her working a register is out as they are up front in the noise.  That and the FASD issue of trouble w/ money.  Though, she's better at math than most our others, she still is way, way off.  This would add to the difficulty of finding a job.  Processing speed is slow as well.  All these factors play into not only finding a job but maintaining one as well. 

Add to all this the fact that I would have to drive them back & forth to said location.  Where they want to work is out of reach.  It would add $200 a month in gas for me to take them to & from work.  Not happening right now nor in the future.  Told them they have to find a job close to home.  Closer to home.  Easier said than done in this economy.  We're going to give it a shot.  But, they have to remember I don't get off work until after 5pm.  Earliest they could get somewhere is about 6pm.  Most places want you their earlier than that.  Or at least that was my experience as a restaurant mgr.  Suggestions on things to do would be great.  Babysitting is out.  Trust me on that one.  It's not an option.  Cleaning is alright.  So is dog walking or caring for animals.  However, very few people will spend extras on this stuff in this economy.  Trying to find an unique idea for them but drawing a blank. They want to work which is awesome.  I should be ecstatic about that.  

Others w/ adult FASD children or teens, what did you do about the job situation?  There are many things my kids CAN do but certain things get in the way.  No impulse control, no cause & effect thinking, etc.  All those FASD characteristics.  They need an external brain and as they get older, they don't have that luxury at a real job.  We've been acting as their "external brain" throughout childhood.  Tried to give them independence but yet keep them close in case they fall.  Just thought I'd share a bit of what we're going through w/ the teen girls. 

Warren & I thought about paying them a salary to do some manual jobs around the house.  Trust me, it needs some fixing up.  ALL the baseboards need repainting and the windowsills.  Outside maintenance.  Warren and I just don't have the extra time right now.  2 of us working gets a bit hard to find the time to do this stuff.  Especially, with so many mental health issues or medical issues our children have.  They come first, house last.  There is enough to do to keep them busy for months.  It would be cheaper for us & them.  They'd get cash and we'd save by not having to drive them to a job.  It's an idea.  Working on various ideas right now. 

Got to run.  Tomorrow is Special Olympics!  If you see Alyona, please cheer her on or congratulate her.  It means a lot to her.  Going there, taking her out to eat, taking Digby to get groomed (trust me, this first time we can't do it at home), clean up and then a visitor comes regarding our "situation."  Again, hoping for resolution and truth to finally prevail.  Then relax tomorrow night & off to the zoo on Saturday.  Enjoy your weekend.  


  1. That is definitely a difficult situation and unfortunate that there are not more options for your children. One entry level job is food prep/working in a kitchen. Is that an option?

    Another idea is to do volunteer work (at a local animal shelter, soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, etc.) depending on the interests and skills of each child. It teaches job skills and is something they can put on their resumes later on for help getting other jobs.

  2. Our friends who have been family forever have two kids they've also adopted with FAS and some major mental health issues, and one has a severe speech issue, as well. One has done real well working for a vet, bagging groceries at the market, and, most successfully, working at a retirement home. She's done serving in the dining room (where they can't hear or understand half the time anyway, so miss the many speech and processing issues for the most part anyway). She works with the activities director and sometimes even now calls bingo and just spends time with the residents. At the vet I know she started out volunteering, initially, and then it turned into a job. The retirement home one was sort of that way, as well.

    The other isn't as high functioning on the whole so is far less independent, but she has been 'working' (with great supervision) in the nursery at church in a room with multiple other individuals. She 'works' one hour a week paid (midweek - weekend is volunteer and she does another hour), takes great pride in her job, and is ok because she's very closely, closely watched.

    I'm not sure the size of your church and if you have a facility or not (out here on the west coast it's not unusual to have churches meeting in schools, so sometimes that complicates what I'd suggest next) but many churches, especially larger ones, have a typically overworked and stretched thing maintenance staff. From the many things you've shown of what Max does, it sure seems like from what I know - both working at a church and having two immediate family members on staff at two other large churches also in my area - that he'd be the type of kid that a church might be willing to hire to help fix things or do some of those projecty things that their staff person (or people) on the maintenance/facility crew might not get to. For instance, painting curbs - fire zones, handicap, etc., helping resurface parking lots, repainting handrails, landscaping, etc. etc. Even if it started out with little things periodically, he seems like one who would go above and beyond since it seems he enjoys the tinkering and projects from what you right...and churches tend to be venues that'll maybe be more accomodating that other places. And if it's not a need your church has, even if he did some volunteering so they saw what you meant, they might reconsider...and many churches have great relationships with other local churches, so they might even be able to share his project services, so to speak.

    Just some thoughts from what I've seen with my 30+ years of friendship with my family/friends, and then also in positions at my churches!

    Praying for your situation!

    L in CA

  3. Perhaps a job at Johnston Memorial Hospital? There are many people with challenges working at WakeMed, I can only assume that JMH hires them as well. They clean, deliver meal trays, and I am sure other jobs that I do not see in my job as a nurse.

  4. Our local library system has a lot of jobs for teens/students. I think for the most part it's filing or pulling books and organizing shelves etc. This would be a job in a rather quiet, calm environment with what I assume is fairly low pressure. Would this work for Yana?