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The ADHD Struggle...The Courage to Develop a Career

By Stephen C. Schultz

I had the opportunity to speak with a mom (Kathy) whose son was 21 years old. He currently has some cognitive learning concerns and a history of being involved in residential as well as day treatment programs. He has struggled in various educational settings, is working part time with his father, but is becoming more and more discouraged. He sees himself as eventually being an independent and responsible member of society but is burdened by his deficits and the impact they have on his path to independence.

My brothers (ScottJared) and I work with families whose sons and daughters are young adults, struggling to transition into the adult world. The reasons for their “Failure to Launch” are as varied as the families that come to us for assistance. Since my brothers and I each have “Day Jobs”, we only consult with families “upon request” from Educational Consultants and allied professionals. One of the main aspects of what we do is to provide an Integrated Career Evaluation.

I mentioned to Kathy, that as she presents this opportunity to her son, that she does not use the term "Test". Our hope is to develop an alliance with each young adult to explore their strengths, interests and values. When this process is approached right, every student we have worked with becomes excited about his/her capabilities and competencies. This doesn't mean they won't have struggles or setbacks, but the goal is to help them feel hopeful about the process of becoming an independent, responsible young adult. Most of these young adults we work with have been "tested" a lot in their lives. We simply want to differentiate this process from psychological or academic testing.

Kathy discussed with us that her son was researching potential interests at a local technical college where they live. I always encourage this type of activity. This is a great opportunity for him to see what is available and the many different avenues for study and career. However, as you know, these schools are great for some of the students, but many students just don't fit.
I shared with Kathy that one of the "principles" associated with the Integrated Career Evaluations that we do is the concept of "Job Carving". I related an example of a young man who participated in this career evaluation process with us. He scored very high on two different subscales of the evaluation. He scored high on Art/Artistic and high on Law Enforcement/Security. We thought wow! What do we do with that! After exploring many different options, this young adult was able to get an internship at an art museum working in the security department. Within two weeks he was working half time in security and giving public tours half time. Those types of "outside the box" opportunities are out there, but without an Integrated Career Evaluation process, parents and young adults are often left trying to put a "square peg in a round hole".

My brother Jared mentioned to me after the call with Kathy that this particular case brings up another somewhat complicated issue. Jared said that it is common for people to not want to accept the fact there may be some cognitive deficits. (Kathy mentioned this about her son) This is good on one hand because it fosters the sense of independence and the desire to live a "normal" life. However, it also precludes them from seeking and utilizing appropriate accommodations in school or the workplace. Thus, actually increasing the failure rate and creating the very problems in life they hope to avoid by being independent. So, developing a sense of resilience around any deficits is the key to success.  

I have scheduled a time for Jared and I to meet with Kathy’s son. I am hopeful and excited to interact and get to know this young man who has struggled in this life through no fault of his own.

If you would like to see an example of a Career Evaluation or have questions about associated fees, please contact me at


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