Saturday, 15 November 2014

Questionable labour practices and special needs

Raising multiple children with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and other special needs, we have had on going challenges when it comes to employment.  Living in a small town our teens/young adults are often asked to do small jobs in the neighborhood.  This is both a blessing and a challenge, for example yesterday our 18 year old comes running home from walking the dog saying "some guy up the hill wants me to come work right now".  When asked who the "guy" was and what he would be doing our son had no clue.  If our son had good judgement and common sense we would let him go and determine if this job was something he was capable of doing, if he would be safe doing it and if it was a legal activity however this isn't a skill our son with FASD has.

Added to this issue we have a couple children that have an inflated vision of what they are capable of doing which also causes an issue when it comes to employment as they frequently feel they have the skills/experience necessary for a variety of jobs. For example one son was asked if he could use a chainsaw and cut down some trees - he thought this sounded fun however we felt it would end like a horror movie and needed too step in for everyone's safety.

We have also come across people preying on people with challenges, to get a task that should be done by a professional, as a way of getting something done extremely inexpensively.  Our children/young adults have been asked to do jobs in condemned buildings that weren't safe for entry, they have been asked to deal with rat infested buildings, climb high up into trees to limb them, etc.

As a family we have come up with a checklist for our children when considering a job and require a couple of our children to complete it and present it too us before taking on any odd jobs.  Our hopes are that these questions will eventually run through their heads when considering a job.  Who is hiring you? Contact phone number? Will that person be present when you are working/who will you be working with? What will you be doing? Do you have the skills for this job?  What safety gear and/or equipment is required?  Do you have the safety gear/equipment required? What day and time will you be working?

Our rules have caused some short term upset when we have said no to certain jobs especially if that is on a day when the child in question is low on cash.  I do feel that overall it has saved our children from some unsafe situations far more times than they have been upset.  Having used this system for multiple years I can say that our 25 year old son is now starting to think through these questions prior to taking on a job.


  1. Excellent advice! Thank you for sharing. We are not to the point where our son can I had not really thought too much about these issues. However, I think I need too.

  2. I think employers should understand that people with disabilities are human beings and not mindless pawns. If I had to go into a rat-infested building without the necessary certification, I would sue them.