Our Community Weighs In: Have Your Child’s Learning Differences Impacted Your Career?

Parenting a child who learn and thinks differently can be challenging (just check out this video series). There might be times when you have to make tough decisions and sacrifices to help your child thrive. And this might include changes in your career, like working less or leaving a job.

We asked families in our Facebook community to share how their careers have been affected by their kids’ differences.

Some parents stopped working altogether. Here’s what they said:

“When my son started kindergarten, I quit my full-time job and got a part-time job. It was apparent very quickly that he needed me at home with him in the evenings. I wanted to keep up with his progress.” —Krista Kegley “I stayed at a job for a long time that paid me a lot less because they accommodated my family’s needs. I needed to be available for studying, homework help, project organizations.” —Erin Connolly Wilson “I was a paralegal for almost 20 years, then I had my daughter and my life has completely changed. I no longer work and spend my time now trying to make sure that my daughter remains mainstreamed.” —Patricia Colon Read “I took a job closer with flexibility, because it became clear I needed to be involved. It is like a second job trying to manage his school needs.” —Christine Michelle “I gave mine up. Two boys with developmental delay eventually diagnosed as ADHD. Younger boy also has . Hard to get off work for all the private therapies needed.” —Adrienne Quill “I left my career so I could homeschool my 7-year-old son who has anxiety and a reading disability. He’s worth it though.” —Tiffany Nixon-Nelson

And there are other parents whose work lives actually got better.

“I am a teacher and it makes me better at my job to have a son with ADHD. I structure my classroom procedures with built-in support. I am always asking myself, if my son were in my classroom whether or not he would be able to succeed.” —Meg Kirby “It actually helped lead me into a career as a special education teacher. I wanted to be able to better advocate for my son, and now for my students too.” —Megan Sandlin “I quit my job and stayed home for 10 years. Now I work as a parent-mentor for a school district in Ohio. I’ve found purpose and meaning in work.” —Shari DeCarlo “I’m a teacher and it has made me much more patient. I now see the kid who covers his ears when we play instruments and I give him earmuffs. I see the kid who can’t sit still and teach him ways to cope/fidget and still learn.” —Danielle Marchhart

Get in on the conversation by joining the Understood Facebook community.

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About the author

About the author

Tara Drinks is an editor at Understood.