Realistic career goals

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2001
Realistic career goals
6
Thu, 07-08-2010 - 8:01pm

I am quite worried over the future of my 15, almost 16 yr old. He gets ideas to what he will do with his future, but he has no clue as to what these things call for. He is not committed to anything. He is quite smart, but never seems to get the idea that he has to do something or work or whatever.

First he said he wanted to be an aerospace engineer. But, he was never doing his school work. I tried to encourage him to join the local CAP but he said no way. He also kept saying he wanted to go to the Airforce Academy. Finally, when we really discussed it, he said he only wanted the Airforce Academy because it is prestigious. He also said he was not that interested in airplanes but figured aerospace engineering would earn him a lot of money. He also said he thought it would be easy. Ummm....no.

SO, after discussing, he said he really wanted to do computer science. He did ask for books on computer programming and seems interested. However, he claims he does not need to know things like math. He actually has a high IQ in the math area (around 140) but our local schools did an awful job teaching math. On a regular basis, he had to do things like draw pictures, make arts and crafts (I am referring to honors level high school math, honors Algebra 1 and honors geometry) and write about feelings. One math paper, he had to write ways he could contribute to his community. (warning, this sort of lack of math in math classes has become popular across the US, just most parents do not realize it).

I decided to tutor him in math over the summer. He has algebra 2 this fall and he only earned a 77 in algebra 1 so I figure it would be best to go over algebra 1 to make sure he is good and ready for algebra 2. OK...he had a lot of answers that were not correct. When I would ask him how he got such n such answer, he would state it just felt right. I already knew that his grade in math would have been a lot higher if his poster with pretty pictures of birds on trees were better, and if he had worn the correct outfits on spirit days and such (half the points in these classes were non math related). But, I am frustrated that he was taught to look for how he felt about problems rather than for the logical systematic solving of problems.

Now he feels like he cannot do math. But with his lack of social skills, that is really something he cannot do. I would leave out any sales positions or political type positions, such as managers and such. I do not think his decision making is always the best when you consider the fact that he completely assesses social situations wrong. We go to movies on a regular basis and sometimes, he will explain to me why a particular character did something and he will be completely off.

I think maths and such would be my son's strongest points. But I am unsure what to do now. Should I start working on reteaching him high school math before he reaches graduation so he has a chance at computer science?

Does anyone have any other suggestions? My son does not work at anything. He currently needs to be handheld through everything. He makes poor decisions most of the time. He cannot stand anything with smells or biological basically so he cannot do anything in the medical field. He has very low muscle tone, so anything that would call for strength would be out. He completely reads social situations wrong so anything where he has to impress people, get people to like him, simply will not work.

He also loves to write and loves science fiction. Is there anything in that?

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Registered: 05-11-2005
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 12:17am

I could have written your post. Except for the written part. Gregory (15) has difficulty writing. He can figure six different ways to get the answer to a math problem on his own, but is stymied by division. His refusal to use his nearly eidetic memory to


June08siggy

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Registered: 01-25-2007
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 4:46am
As you have said, most parents do not realize that curriculm in public schools is all a grand experiment. You refer to the "multidisiplinary" approach where they try to reinforce core concepts from one subject into all the other subjects as well. That is why you will find writing in math, math in social studies, reading in phys ed. etc. There is also spiral math versus layered math, whole language versus phonics and on and on. After a decade or two of poor test scores they will try something else. While I would never consider homeschooling, I have always supplemented everything the kids got in public school at home. A few years ago my son was have a very difficult time learning some crazy way the school was teaching him to multiply. I taught him the tried and true method that we used and even though his teacher gave him poor grades because he was getting the answer but not using "the correct Method", I was satisfied that he could multiply if he had to. By all means work with your son at home if you think he will benefit from it. On a side note, most teenagers this age are not driven and self motivated. Very few are laying out realistic career goals. My brother hated math in high school but started taking college math for a political science major in college and that is really when everything clicked. He became a programmer instead
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 1:16pm

Hey Mom of 15 year old Aspie here too. I know he is smart for what he wants to do. He can be sneaky and manipulative. But lies poorly. I don't think he will evr pass a test if he can help it despite any sort of bribes punishment we can dole out.


I think I finally traced it to the 1st time we did testing. Back when he was 3. He just couldn't be bothered taking the IQ test. He had better things in his mind to do.


He will slide

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2008
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 2:45pm

For what it is worth, I think that teenagers at this age usually don't know where they are going. I know that I didn't at this age.

As a sophomore, I told my parents that I wasn't going to go to college but just work a regular job. By senior year I was accepted to a small, private, but very good engineering school on the East Coast. I have a Masters in Engineering and another degree in Physical Therapy. I did a lot of growing between 16 and 18, and even more later on.

Kids on the spectrum are often delayed in their development, so I won't be surprised if Graham isn't ready for college straight out of high school. But I think there is something to be said for a gap year or two as long as the parents set it up right....paying rent to you, working whatever kind of job they can get and keep, learning a little bit of real life skills stuff, like laundry, etc. Reality can be a great motivator.

Try not to make yourself sick with worry about your child's future. There is still alot of growing to be done. Now is the time to slowly let reality take it's course. You can warn him and coach him, but you can't make him. He has to step up to the plate himself.

There is plenty of time for him to correct mistakes made in high school. My dad was a high school drop out but went on to get his degree in engineering and had a reasonably successful career, family, house, etc.

I guess what I"m saying is that while his behavior is worrisome, it's not that usual at this age and even if he does fall out of the nest when he tries at 18 to become more independent, there is time for him to learn and correct his mistakes.

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 5:48pm

I know a few "quirky" adults that do well in various trades.