There is plenty of information aimed at parents who are looking for the best ways to help their dyslexic children get the best out of their education. Advice on how to help them with homework, revision and coursework isn’t difficult to find now that we know more about dyslexia. And schools now know much better how to support them in the school setting. However, when it comes to next steps there is scant advice for parents who wish to, or need to be involved in helping their teen transition from education into the workplace. This article aims to begin to address this hole in the online literature.
Around 10% of the UK population has dyslexia, making this subject relevant to a lot of families. When you consider that as of 2020 there were also 2.9 million single parent families in the UK, a good number of parents have to confront these challenges alone.
Here’s how you can help if your dyslexic teen is struggling to find a job after finishing education.
One of the most important ways in which parents can help their dyslexic teens look for work is by encouraging them to be positive in the way they present themselves. Anyone who has gone through the education system and achieved a degree of success while managing dyslexia will have shown great persistence, resilience and mental toughness. These qualities can absolutely be emphasised. Remember, a disability can teach skills other kids haven’t yet developed. Encourage your children and teens to recognise this and present their dyslexia with an air of confidence.
Help with careers advice
Schools are not always the best when it comes to serious and relevant careers advice, and although there have been some major improvements, a positive and open chat with your own children will often be more fruitful. Do some research into the careers that tend to suit people with dyslexia and then consider the unique strengths, weaknesses and interests of your teen. Sit down together and chat about some of the more attractive options based on these considerations. There is evidence to show that certain career options can be particularly suited to people with dyslexia including:
- Teaching – often people who have gone through the school system with a learning disability will have greater insights into how to improve teaching methods and get through to more children.
- Arts and music – careers and further education in these disciplines are often more flexible to the particular needs of people with learning disabilities.
- Crafting, construction, design (including web design) and culinary professions – dyslexic people can be more visual and tactile, giving them unique benefits in hands-on professions.
Of course these are just a few examples. In the end it’s all about recognising strengths and weaknesses for what they are and creating a shorlist in combination with your teen’s particular interests.
Consider volunteer work
Encourage your teen to take up volunteer positions in careers that they are passionate about or hold an interest in. Give them a supporting framework at home from which to go about this and they may well get a foot in the door or even realise that they need to explore other avenues before committing. Above all, remain supportive.
Remember when you were a teenager? Did you want someone to lecture you or would you have preferred to have been given more of a chance to get your point across and feel listened to? Let your teen open up to you about their own feelings about employment. They may already have their heart set on a particular profession. They may want to work in retail, be a teacher, an artist or go to veterinary school. If they already know, your job is to encourage them and find out about any openings or apprenticeship routes that may be applicable. Remember that long term goals can seem rather stressful so it often helps to bring things back to short term challenges that can be ticked off as you go.