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Aspergers and Being Productive

By Aaron Tanner

· Employment,Productive,independence

Parents, how frustrating is it to get your child with Aspergers to be motivated to do something other than sit around and play video games all day? It is true that due to poor communication and social skills along with sensory issues cause with Asperger Syndrome have difficulty holding down a job. Sometimes it is easier to get lost in a world of fantasy.

I will not lie; it is difficult most days holding down a job. However, it beats not having any spending money to do things that I want to do.There is much satisfaction knowing that I earned my own money and can do whatever I want with my paycheck since I earned my own money.Of course, like everyone, I have my own bills to pay so being responsible and making sure those are taken care of is the highest priority.

Dr. Temple Grandin, in her new book “The Loving Push”, encourages parents with children on the spectrum to get them away from computer and video games and find them a job involve them in some form of community service. Grandin teaches in her presentations that getting Aspies out of their comfort zone helps strengthen their social skills, improves their executive functioning skills and helps them feel less isolated. Many I meet point out that working a part time job, volunteering with Launch Aspergers, and getting involved in church has helped with my social skills.

The key is recognizing your child’s strengths and helping them hone in on those skills to better prepare them for the workforce. Although my first paid job working at a Sonic Drive-In was not the most ideal job, the job did help me to build a work ethic and taught me to be nice to those workers who deal with the public every day, like restaurant workers. I like this one writer’s idea from Linked-In that teens in general who plan on going to college would be better off building a work ethic via an apprenticeship at a startup company in a controlled environment vs. working fast food, which can sometimes be dangerous. Unless your child wants to be a professional chef, a restaurant job may not be the best job for someone with Aspergers due to deficiencies in short term memory and sensory processing. Parents, help your child find a job that matches their interests, even if it is an unpaid internship in high school, because a job matching your child’s interests will more than likely result in your child putting in the effort to get the job done and to stick with it.

Parents can start when their child is young by teaching them how to do chores around the house and have responsibilities as members of the family, such as dusting, vacuuming and even cooking. It may take longer for the Aspie to master certain chores, but you must tell your child that learning how to take care of themselves and make contributions, will help them feel good about themselves and less depressed. Even though I do not have the best motor skills, I am very thankful my parents taught me chores and that I can cook something other than ramen noodles and PBJs.

Parents will feel better about their Aspie child/children because they know that they will not be around forever and even if they are not able to be 100% independent that having skills to take care of oneself will not only be less of a burden on others but will make others more open to helping in the future.

It is important for parents to push their child towards interacting with society in order to build social skills, foster a sense of independence and make them feel good about themselves. In return, you will have a peace of mind that your child will be okay in the future. Readers, why do you think someone with Aspergers should put down the video games and contribute to society? Comment in the section below.

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