Part-time job possibilities for Asperger's/dyspraxic
My DS has applied to university in London and DH and I have just been looking at living costs v. maintenance loan - there's no way we can afford to give him all the financial support that he'll need. He is insistent that he wants to get a part-time job, which is great. But I am concerned that, particularly in a fast-paced environment like London, he'll find it very hard to get suitable work. He couldn't cope with a noisy environment, such as a bar, and would struggle in a shop too. He is academically very bright but he is not capable of working fast at physical tasks. He has no concept of the sort of demands an employer is likely to make.
Does anyone have any advice on what sort of work might be suitable (or rather, what sort of employer might be openminded enough to take him on) and what the chances are of getting something in London? If would be so good for his confidence (not to mention our finances) if he could find some work. He does a bit of voluntary work currently, but I'm not convinced he's learned any transferable skills.
Data entry, Shelf stacking, bookshop, food prep, washing up, dog walking?
Hotel or restaurant kitchen porter? Basically washing up and cleaning the kitchen.
You might be surprised to find he's good at bar work. You need to be dexterous but it's fairly basic skills, so once a dyspraxia has mastered them, then they are same. And the social skills are also basic. Just smile, ask what they want, take their money. It's a very good job to help ASD/dyspraxic people gain confidence. Especially a quiet bar, lunchtimes. Not a busy, aggressive one.
He could also maybe get work as a museum or gallery attendant/security person. That involves sitting or standing in doorways, politely asking people to step away from exhibits and directing them to where other exhibits are.
And Waitrose has a good track record in hiring ASD/SEN people and training properly.
Also means Waitrose employee's mum gets 20% off in John Lewis
Food prep/kitchen porter/bar work jobs are too challenging for him - noisy environments and he'd have to work fast under pressure. He'd love dog walking though - that's a great idea. And museum attendant is inspired. He likes museums (and would be quite happy spending all day telling people not to touch things!).
Waitrose are good employers but, in our home town at least, the competition is intense - not least because most mothers want their DCs to get a part-time job there so they can nab the discount.
I was really worried the only options would be retail/catering but it sounds as if we just need to think outside the box a little.
Cinnamon Hampton Court were hiring recently for their summer staff. Probably missed that one but he could get in touch now with the big galleries and museums, and see if he can get in early for the summer influx of tourists.
Cinnamon I know you have discounted it but my ds is in the same position and works for wetherspoons on the 'floor'. They pay weekly and are very rigid with rules and expectations and he loves it. He is asd. If he can get it local to you they will transfer him.
I agree with wannabe that bar work is worth a shot. I'm dyspraxic but worked for years as a waitress. It was a real boost to confidence, improved my physical and social skills and the pay is great when you add tips. A friend's dyspraxia daughter recently got a bar job and became really outgoing and confident within a few weeks. I thought she wouldn't last because she's quite clumsy and dreamy but she's got the hang of it and is now one of their full time staff, earning good money to bank before uni. (It's easy, repetitive work physically so once you learn the moves, they don't change.)
What about tutoring in his subject? Lots of unis have their own employment sites and arrange tutoring at local schools. Or online tutoring such as this - if you google tutoring in London I think you will see the demand.
Wannabe and notagiraffe, I'll try to encourage him to be openminded about bar work. It's the social interaction side of it that worries him (he's currently horrified at the idea that reception staff at the hall of residence he's applied for might say hello when he walks in!). But it's true that the tasks are repetitive once mastered - I worry that an employer wouldn't be prepared to tolerate his initial slowness though.
I would be very happy indeed if he could take on that sort of work - I would feel my job was done! I've got a friend who runs a pub; I might ask if he would let DS do a couple of days' work experience there.
Orac, I didn't know about online tutoring - that sounds promising too.
Thanks so much for your ideas and encouraging words, everyone. Slightly less anxious now!
cinnamontoast I've enjoyed reading this thread as my AS son will be in exactly the same position in September!
All begin well, he'll be going to Manchester and will really need to get a job.
He has a great work ethic and for the past few years has had a car washing business, making himself quite a tidy little sum every weekend. I don't think that will be possible at Uni and, like you, I'm concerned about him working with the public.
If he lives within travelling distance of a Royal Mail sorting office, they take on people to sort parcels through their agency Angard. Its zero hours, but after the first 12 weeks at minimum wage the pay goes up.
You do need to be fairly quick, but its very methodical work, not dexterous and you don't need to speak to anyone. Most tasks are just checking postcodes on parcels and putting them in the correct trolley. Anyone who isn't fast enough after the first few sessions tends to get put on sack tipping which while boring is quite easy.
How about data entry? We once had a university student came to do some data entry temping for us. If you can let him have some voluntary working experience in this side, maybe he can find a job in the office, bank or library etc, which is quite quiet.
However, please check how pressure his study would be first. DH works in University, he found his students who have to do part time jobs during terms suffer in their study. University terms are very short, there are plenty of time between terms, I think it is better to do some work during these break time.
Library work? Unis often hire their own students PT.
The student unions often take on quite a few people and this is done to fit best around his studies. I assume that he's applied for Disabled Students Allowance as this may mean he can get a special support Grant instead of part of the maintenance loan and tends to give him slightly more as well as meaning he gets extra support with his work. My most helpful provision through DSA is my Autism Specialist Mentor who makes sure all the other help I need is working for me as well as keeping me on track with assignments.
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