Finding a job?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mag, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. Mag

    Mag New Member

    Does anyone know if there's a place to help get job placements for difficult children? My son is 17 and with his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and receptive language disorder, it would be really difficult for him to get the 'typical' teenage jobs. He got his first job last week, but unfortunately has already been let go....supposedly because they hired somebody full time, but I have an idea from some remarks he said his boss made today that it was in part because he has trouble following too many directions at once or forgetting things.

    He needs an easy job, just something a few days a week for maybe 3 or 4 hours at a time. I know schools and other places help get jobs for kids with other disabilities, but difficult child doesn't really qualify for that kind of help, and also, since he's homeschooled, we don't have access to guidance counselors, etc.

    Any ideas for simple, repetitive type jobs or sources for places that might help place him in a job? Thanks :smile:
  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    What about working in a kennel? My first job was in a vet clinic working the front desk, but other high school students worked in the kennel area. They cleaned cages, fed and watered the animals, brought animals out when their owner picked them up.
  3. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    The kennel idea is excellent if he is a lover of animals.

    How about at a grocery store as a bagger, or cart retriever.

    You may even want to check with the Job Corp (although I am ignorant as to how involved they are; just a suggestion.)

    Good luck!
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    With difficult child 1's first job, it was a volunteer position at the local zoo. However, it was a highly competitive one and they nearly let him go on the first day. I asked them how he went, they shook their heads. I then explained, "Would his having Asperger's Syndrome help you understand him a bit better?"
    "Crikey, that explains a lot," the head keeper said. (No it wasn't Steve Irwin - 'crikey' is a generic Aussie word). The head keeper had some understanding and now realised that difficult child 1's apparent lack of emotion and odd responses were not insolence and apathy, they were something completely different. He made some useful suggestions (more suitable clothing ie not black, it scares the customers; carry notebook and pencil to write down orders for the day; carry plenty of bottled water in the heat; etc)

    And from the expectation that even with this level of consideration he would only last a few months before they'd need to let him go and put the next volunteer on the list to work, they kept difficult child 1 for two years until HE chose to leave to look for paid employment. And they said they'd love to have him back, any time.

    The situation now - he still hasn't got a job. The Australian government is desperately trying to cut costs by getting disabled people into the workforce (and off disability pensions). They've set up a number of employment agencies all round, plus a few which specialise in people with disabilities. Some deal with short-term disabilities and also include some physical rehabilitation as well as initial support with employers in terms of setting up working conditions. The support tapers off as you adapt to the workplace (and vice versa). Others, like the one difficult child 1 is currently with, will provide support indefinitely, for years if necessary, and since his disability is permanent he opted for that one. However, the word is out among people I've talked to that while this agency is great for teaching people the skills in how to apply for a job, their record of placement is very low. So difficult child 1 has also enrolled in another new government initiative - apprenticeship scheme. This is designed to take older apprenticeship applicants and find them a position. Tradesmen who want apprentices register, and the agency sends them applicants. difficult child 1 went for two interviews this afternoon, the second one seems hopeful.
    If he gets a position, the disability employment agency will still be involved in supporting him, for as long as he wants it. And all of this is free to him - the government is footing the bill.

    Now, this is in Australia, so surely there should be something in the US you could access? But if you can't find anything, I do feel it is important to explain upfront, before he starts, the extent of the problems he has and how you get around them. For example, difficult child 1 and his notebook. If an employer makes sure any instructions are written down, then difficult child 1 can follow them. As we found, to let the kid begin a job without informing them means they will judge the kid by 'normal' standards and will probably not keep them on. But kids like ours - they can be good workers. It's a matter of using their abilities. difficult child 1 is honest and loyal, once an employer realises this they value it. I know the zoo did.

  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Marguerite, you always have the best ideas.

    Part of difficult child's upcoming Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placement is a vocational element, and you've given me some good thoughts about how to make sure that difficult child is supported in this part of the program.

    (and this isn't even my post)
  6. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Even though you are homeschooling, I would also try contacting the guidence counselor at your local high school. He/she might know of some programs to help your difficult child find a job. Also, try calling some of your local staffing agencies. They probably won't have anything but might also be a resource for programs. I did something similar for mine and also called a local agency that finds jobs for MI people. They were as helpful as they could be in referring me to different programs. (Not many in my area so they could only do so much)

    Just thinking of some jobs off the top of my head too. What about dishwasher at a small restaurant, the kennel idea was a good one, maybe something similar for the humane shelter or a local stable, maybe some sort of volunteer thing if $ isn't an issue. That could at least give him some experience.

    Good luck!
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Something we did - we told our about-to-graduate-high-school kids, "next year and for subsequent years, while you live at home, you will either do a course or get a job. If you cannot get a paying job, you will be a volunteer. Your choice."

    The reason - we wanted them to continue to have some sort of work ethic and to feel productive in some way. Also, when later on looking for a job, it looks a lot better on your resumé to be able to explain WHY you have been unemployed for so long. "I was doing a few courses at TAFE..." [our uni alternative] or "I've been visiting the sick and elderly in local nursing homes."

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 got a job soon after finishing school. difficult child 1 started a TAFE course and also did one day a week at the local zoo. I had to drive him to the zoo and home again, it was an hour round trip, twice a day until we found someone who could get him there in the morning (before sunrise, a lot of the time). He was unpaid but worked from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm, mostly heavy manual work (when you're wheeling a barrowload of chopped vegetables to a herd of Highland cattle and a Brahmin bull, it's heavy manual work just to avoid getting trodden on!)

    We did things to support our kids (such as the long drive) because it was something, ANYTHING, that was heading in the direction of a lifetime path. Although he's now changed direction, he made a lot of really good progress as a result of that work. It's also where he met girlfriend - another volunteer. It was a good investment of his time, and ours.

    But setting up that rule for someone about to finish school - it's a good rule. Making it easier by including voluntary work, you can MAKE your own work by simply visiting elderly neighbours and mowing lawns for them, or cleaning gutters. Or dropping in randomly to a nursing home or retirement home just to talk (which means listen) to residents there. If it's OK with people, a really good project is to take a tape recorder, with permission, and transcribe the person's life story. It's a really good way to develop listening skills, typing skills, interview skills (which come in naturally at a later stage - "Mrs Smith, will you tell me a bit more about how you survived the really cold winters?"). And this is material we are rapidly losing from our cultural collection, as people die without passing it on.
    You need to ask permission and often that permission comes with strict boundaries which should be respected, such as "This is for my family's ears only." At a later stage the person may change their mind and allow wider broadcast, but you are performing a valuable service to the community at large in so many ways. And you CAN make a living out of this, when you get good at it. Even when you are just starting out you may be able to get a government grant for it, to pay for materials and even some of the time involved. For funding, the people to approach would be veteran's organisations, historical societies and a number of local government bodies which may want to know more about certain specific things (in which case, they may direct you to certain people to interview).

    By interviewing people, you are learning new social skills; you are helping a possibly lonely old person feel valued and considered; you are preserving valuable heritage material for posterity. And with regard to helping a lonely old person, this can improve their physical and mental well-being to the point where it really can have an impact on health costs in the country.

    And when at a later stage you apply for a 'real' job, having this on your resume tells a prospective employer a lot of good things about you.

    A difficult child may need his hand held a lot, especially in the beginning. But as they discover, somewhere out there in the old and wrinklies, there are other exGFGs who can tell them a thing or two about rebellion, individuality and thumbing a nose (or worse) at authority. It will hook them in!

  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Here there are several handicapped people working at the grocery to bag purchases and carry them out. I know afew who work for landscapers, esp in summer it is good $$, and restuarants often hire people with disabilities to either bus tables or wash dishes. Just a few places in my community I can think of.