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19 yo with autism - helping him to make career choices

(3 Posts)
elfreda69 Mon 04-May-15 00:27:11

I would welcome advice from others in a similar situation. My 19 year old has autism and moderate learning disabilities. He is a talent artist and has spent 2 years in college completing Art and Design courses. He has said that he wants to continue studying to the next level as he wants to be a graphic designer.

Having researched this, I am not sure that this will be a good career option: he has struggled to keep up with the course so far, has quite poor computer skills and will probably struggle with many of the communication skills that this occupation appears to demand. He is also unlikely to be able to get a degree in Graphic Design as he is struggling with the literacy/numeracy demands of the level 2 course he is currently doing.

We have done a few online career questionnaires (Fast Tomato is great!) and it has listed many occupations that I always thought would be more suitable: carpentry, painting and decorating etc.

As he only has qualifications in Art and no other qualifications, I feel very strongly that he should have a skilled trade. behind him.

I am now in the process of applying for construction courses for him, but I do feel guilty that I am not allowing my son to follow his dream. I am worried that he may not actually find any enjoyment from pursuing work in painting/decorating.

My head tells me that I am doing the right thing: helping him to get vocational qualifications in something that could lead to achieveable employment. However, I do feel like a dream killer as I am actively dissuading him from pursing his interest in Art.


Advice please!!!

blankgaze Mon 04-May-15 15:57:22

I've written a long reply which has gone into another dimension, so briefly..
Firstly, please ascertain how talented he really is at Graphics. Ask prospective employers to look at his work and give their honest opinions.

If from that they want to meet the creative genius that produced the portfolio, then the next task is to find out exactly what jobs for your son would entail, how much pressure, how much teamwork, how much client contact and see if it would be a go from all sides.

If any of that would overwhelm him, gently suggest he needs to grow into being able to have a successful career in the arts so as a backup, he needs a Trade, to see him through any lean times ahead.

After he's qualified in a Trade and if you think he's capable of managing it, I know from friends and family there's a distinct shortage of 'odd job men' around, they wouldn't command the professional contractors' fees, but there again, their tasks would be only very ordinary. I'm fairly sure he'd soon have a regular client base.

elfreda69 Wed 13-May-15 20:43:03

Thanks for this response.

I have discussed his talents with his tutors who agree that he is talented but they feel that the graphic design route is not suited to him for reasons discussed.
I have discussed the matter with my son and he seems happy to pursue the construction route. I feel that it will give him a range of skills which will always be in demand and hopefully make him employable.

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