In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Boulo is proudly advocating for parents of children with special needs! We are challenging employers to break down their barriers to bring more flexibility to their employees. With a little flexibility, employers can tap into some incredible talent that can take their businesses far! Will you take on the challenge?
Did you know that “roughly 40 percent of American parents of children with disabilities will leave the workforce to become full-time caregivers?” The advocacy work parents of children with special needs do for their kids has transformed them into more capable professionals. Neuropsychologist, Rita Eichenstein states that “when people become parents, they become more goal-directed and better able to prioritize. They become more conscientious employees, more focused, and get more done in less time.” Employers are missing out on the treasures these candidates are. However, it doesn’t have to be like this, schedule a 15 min call with us to talk about it!
As you can see from the statistics, many parents are unable to balance their child’s complex needs with the rigid standards of the traditional workplace environment. Most want to work, and they are more than capable of crushing your company goals, but they just need a little flexibility. One parent stated that “work is my safe place, my solace, the space where I feel I have some control and measure of successes in my life. I need to work, to provide for my family, of course, but also to provide meaning in my life. I would argue that parenting a child with special needs has shaped me into a model employee.” When you offer a bit of flexibility the results are extraordinary.
We get it, changing your company culture is a big deal, and finding the right fit for your company can be difficult. However, Boulo helps throughout the whole process! Hiring parents of children with special needs does not mean you have to change your goals, in fact, you gain so much more! Don’t believe us, here are the extra skills you gain when you hire parents of children with special needs from a parent of a child with special needs.
- Relationship Building Abilities:
- “The twice-daily hospital rounds with a team of doctors. Here I honed my relationship-building abilities. Managing caregiving schedules for twins in different locations? This helped me learn how to delegate effectively. All those calls with my insurance company battling medical bills. An FBI hostage negotiator could not have imagined a better training exercise. And my crash course in neonatology gave me the confidence I could handle anything that fell into my lap.”
- “Parents of atypical children also must be willing to engage in difficult conversations, another hallmark of workplace leadership.”
- Project Management Skills:
- “I can coordinate complex projects with ease. As the mother of a child with mental illness, I’m a project manager for my child’s care, observing symptoms, and coordinating specialist visits, medications, occupational therapists, and talk therapists. And I keep that information organized, accessible, and up to date, on an Excel spreadsheet, with pivot tables.”
- I am focused on maximizing the “bang for buck” in everything I do. As a parent of a child with a mental illness, I watch every penny. Even with insurance, my child’s treatment is expensive, and I am always looking for ways to maximize my return on investment. I take that value mindset to the workplace.
- Parents of special needs children live in a constant state of empathy. To understand the needs of their child and to help in the most effective way possible, parents continually put themselves in the child’s situation. This ability is the very definition of empathy.
- A more empathetic employee can better translate the desires, frustrations, and needs of a customer into solutions the company can provide and ultimately turn into profit.
- “I am generous, empathetic, and don’t take things personally. When people let me down at work, I am always inclined to take the high road. After all, I know how hard it is to manage my home life. I also know my son never means the horrible things he says when he’s having a behavioral episode. It helps me to keep my perspective with my colleagues.”
- Parents of children with special needs prioritize and re-prioritize all day long.
- Planning to meet goals and then being able to pivot when needed is critical in a fast-paced business landscape. Parents with special needs children are masters at having to adapt schedules, shift priorities, and block and tackle roadblocks, skills beneficial in every workplace.
- Advocacy requires courage, patience, and a keen understanding of the culture of which you are a part. Just as a parent advocates on behalf of their child, a great manager will advocate for their team. Ensuring the team’s needs are met and that they have the resources needed to meet goals and expectations comes naturally to the special needs parent.
Parents of children with special needs are assets to your company, let them show it to you. The statistics above stated, “roughly 40 percent of American parents of children with disabilities will leave the workforce to become full-time caregivers.” As an employer, you can help lower this statistic. parents of children with special needs are worth investing in. They can take any challenge your company has and deliver on it. One author stated that “what if we challenged the prevailing cultural narrative that having a special-needs child was incompatible with our career growth? What if we reframed caregiving as excellent leadership training in disguise?” When you hire a parent of children with special needs, they are loyal to you and your business, and isn’t that what every employer ultimately wants? One mom stated that “my organization graciously gives me a flexible schedule and excellent health benefits. Because I feel valued, I don’t mind putting in 50- or 60-hour weeks when necessary.” Ready to find your next hire? Stay tuned for the next blog where we help inform employers on how to create a more flexible environment or go to Boulo’s Employer’s board to post a job offer!