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Career options for people with learning disabilities

Many parents of children with learning disabilities tend to worry about their ability to perform in so-called 'normal' jobs, where the work environment is competitive.

However, thanks to advanced technology, how such children can perform at the workplace is very different from their struggles in a mainstream school system. With much of the work done digitally, disorders like dysgraphia, which has to do with writing, or dyslexia, which is language-related, are not such an issue.

Take dyscalculia for instance, which is an arithmetic disorder. Many people feel intimidated at the thought of performing huge calculations, but even that has been enabled thanks to the use of calculators.

So, what are some of the career options for children with learning disabilities?

  • Applied and pure arts - A large number of them are drawn to pure art like painting or photography and applied arts like graphic design, interior designs or textile.
  • Media - Journalism and advertising is appeals to many of them.
  • Performing arts - This can be a natural fit for many. A number of models, TV anchors, and choreographers have learning disabilities.
  • Those who like meeting people might enjoy exploring roles in sales and marketing, and retail management.
  • The hospitality and tourism sector are well suited as they offer a range of options as chefs, travel hosts, cabin crew, etc.
  • Social work and teaching are viable options.
  • Ishanya India Foundation, a Bengaluru-based organization that empowers children and youth with learning disabilities, uses technology to skill them.

    What we do at Ishanya is basically train on vocational areas involving computer. We have training programs in graphic design, photo editing, data entry and digitisation, and resource development. A lot of students who come here are visual learners, so we use visual mediums like videos, screenshot-based instructions to teach them the above. - Swathi Raghunandan, Founder, Ishanya India Foundation

People comfortable with technology have a number of options too. They do well in roles that rely on intelligent problem solving.

  • Areas like software development, hardware testing, video game programming, are options.
  • Areas in the technical side of media like film making, editing or sound engineering.
  • There is data analytics for people who like maths.

"Technology is surely useful and in fact imperative when it comes to skilling initiatives for persons with specific learning disabilities," believes P Rajashekharan Raja, Co-founder, v-shesh, one of the top 10 global diversity consultants. "Firstly learning needs are diverse (auditory, visual, learning by doing) and Technology makes it easier for trainers to adopt a "learner" centric approach. Secondly, conventional methods involve significant social/ peer interactions which can be a distraction. Technology allows for learner to learn at ones own pace without such distractions."

People with learning disabilities face the same challenges like anyone else starting out in their careers. With a supportive work environment and technology, they can be successful and happy like anyone else.

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