Kids with ADHD typically have a variety of interests, but these need to be nurtured and reinforced in order for them to sustain the effort and attention necessary to transform a hobby into a career. Parents must recognize what engages the brain and body of their child with ADHD, to understand what motivates them and to be aware of the underlying behaviors that help them to be attentive, interested, and fully engaged. One of the biggest roles of a parent of a child with ADHD is to nudge them into activities that capture their fancy, providing them with the materials and opportunities to do so. We underestimate kids with ADHD if we view them as engaged only by a screen or in a narrow range of activities.
For example, a child who likes putting things together might benefit from having materials available to build a backyard fort. One who is very interested in animals could be given opportunities to go on a nature hikes, visit zoos and museums, or watch nature videos and documentaries with the parents. A child who likes being physically active should be provided with regular changes to go swimming or participate in activities at a local gym. These children need to be encouraged to play on basketball, soccer, or other sports teams four seasons a year.
While it is inappropriate to characterize all kids with ADHD as having the same interests, there are many activities that are likely to be more attractive to them as they move into adulthood and consider future careers. Activities that are particularly stimulating; involve movement; have a degree of excitement, risk, or change; provide immediate feedback; require many skills; and are cognitively engaging are likely to be of great interest to kids with ADHD.
Here are some cool future careers for kids with ADHD:
Emergency room doctors, nurses, and staff – These professionals need to be quick thinking and focused on emergencies and have an interest in medical issues. Kids and adults with ADHD like excitement, changing environments, movement, new challenges, and talking with others. Emergency room jobs provide ongoing stimulation and risk and require high energy levels.
Teachers – Many adults with ADHD enjoy working as teachers because they have the opportunity to work directly with children. Many individuals with ADHD have dynamic personalities and are very creative, attributes that are favored in the teaching field. In addition, these individuals may understand and have personal insight into the strengths and challenges of students who may also be diagnosed with ADHD.
Sales – Sales representatives sell retail and wholesale goods and typically provide services to customers. They work with customers to find out what they want to ensure a smooth sales process. Individuals with ADHD often have dynamic personalities that can enable them to be successful in selling goods. Their charisma and wit can make them a great fit for this profession.
Website designers – Website designers create websites that are both functional and physically appealing. Website designers needs to be creative as well as technologically savvy to create and redesign websites. Some individuals with ADHD are very creative, and many can readily focus and sustain effort on a variety of technologies.
Firefighters – Firefighters are trained in firefighting and fire rescue with the primary goal of extinguishing fires that threaten people, property, or the environment. This career may be appealing to individuals with ADHD, as they often enjoy excitement. Firefighters work in fast-paced environments and face frequent emergencies.
Beauticians/hair stylists – Beauticians/hair stylists cut and style people’s hair professionally. Individuals with ADHD are often very creative, and creating unique hairstyles for individuals can be a very lucrative profession. People gravitate towards beauticians who pay close attention to detail and use their creativity to make hairstyles that complement an individual’s personality. In addition, a hair salon can be a very fast-paced environment with many things happening at once, which can be ideal for individuals with ADHD who crave excitement.
Featured image: Flickr user Juhan Sonin