This blog is part nine of Transitions’ series on Qualities Employers Look for in Job Candidates. Every person has something great to offer a workplace, including young people with autism and learning disabilities. There are certain universal qualities that all top employees possess, regardless of their industry or job level. This series will present a few of those qualities and the ways in which you as a parent, teacher or service provider can help teach them to the young adult in your life with autism or other learning disabilities.
This week’s installment focuses on a quality that not everyone might expect to be essential for success in the workplace, but nevertheless can do wonders for expanding an employee’s usefulness on the job: having a balanced lifestyle.
While employers want job candidates who can focus on their work, good employers know that work is not the only thing in a person’s life. Having enriching hobbies and interests can be good for a person’s mental health, which will make them a better employee in general. In addition, one never knows when having a wide variety of skills will benefit them in the workplace. Being well-rounded might lead to new job and advancement opportunities in the future. Seeking out diverse experiences could help a person:
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance
- Cultivate interests that help them socialize appropriately with coworkers
- Gain a variety of skills that increase their value as an employee
- Meet new people who could serve as networking connections in their career
- Discover new ideas for innovation on work projects
How You Can Help:
- Make sure your young adult has access to classes, camps and extracurricular programs relating to fine arts, photography, theater, digital arts, music and more if they show an interest.
- Give your young adult the opportunity to explore interests in sports and fitness activities such as yoga, exercise classes and outdoor activities. Not only will this promote good health, but it can also help with mindfulness, relaxation and focus in the workplace.
- Actively encourage your young adult to pursue their interests, whatever they are, by joining clubs and organizations and attending events so they can make like-minded friends and have regular fulfilling experiences.
- Take your young adult on outings of all kinds to encourage them to broaden their horizons. Ideas for outings include performance events, museums, galleries, tourist attractions, workshops, festivals, fairs and outdoor activities. These have added bonuses of being opportunities to practice navigation and social skills in new contexts.
It isn’t always easy for those diagnosed with autism or other learning disabilities to try new things or get involved with new activities that draw them away from comfortable environments, especially if they also struggle with making new friends. But the benefits of broadening one’s horizons make it well worth it to try. For more information about Transitions and how its programs help young adults with autism and learning disabilities expand all their opportunities for future success, contact us at (518) 775-5384.
About the Author:
Gina Warsaw teaches Career Success courses at Transitions, which cover professional presentation, preparing resumes and cover letters, job searching, basic job skills, interacting professionally in the workplace and more. She has almost 30 years of experience supporting people with disabilities to reach their life goals, including more than 10 years focused on helping people transition into integrated community employment opportunities. Gina is currently the Director of Day Supports at The Arc Lexington.