How Video Games Can Help Children With ADHD Get A Job

By Dr. Randy Kulman on Friday, November 24, 2023
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Many of the parents who come to our office at South County Child Family Consultants for a neuropsychological evaluation wonder about how their child with ADHD will be able to hold a job in the future. They often notice that they have a limited set of interests that they can stay focused on, and what they can focus on involves a video game. In fact, almost anything that involves the screen, with the exception of homework, grabs their attention away from other activities. While this can be a problem, particularly for those kids with ADHD who need extra help with balancing screen time, exercise, and homework, it might also be an asset for them in the future.


While our team at South County Child and Family Consultants does not recommend that kids with ADHD, or any kids, spend more than an hour or two a day playing video games, there may be some benefits to this (To learn more about this read this research article “Video Game Play is Positively Correlated with Well Being”). There is compelling data that kids who play for about an hour or two per day tend to be more social, adaptable, and can develop some good problem-solving skills. Unfortunately for parents, many kids with ADHD are used to playing for far longer than an hour or two per day. The challenge is to ensure that they have a healthy play diet where they spend much of the time being physically active.


There is a long-term strategy that gameplay in the broader development of expertise with technology may be very helpful for kids with ADHD. One well-known axiom in describing children with ADHD is that they don’t show their attention problems when they’re engaged in activities that they love. It is the undesirable activities that they experience the most inattention. As I have written previously, “As many parents realize, kids with ADHD don’t have a problem paying attention, but they might have a problem with paying attention to activities that are not interesting to them.” While this is true for many people, people with ADHD experience it to a disproportionate degree. However, when kids and adults with ADHD become engaged in an activity that they love, they can become extremely focused and highly competent. 


The reality is that in the future, many jobs will depend on what kids with ADHD love: their knowledge and facility with technology. If we can begin teaching children with ADHD to use technology in a creative fashion, we may be preparing them for jobs in the future. If we can help them recognize their video gameplay skills and apply them in the real world, we might actually help them perform better in school and display better problem-solving skills.


An example of a career that a video-game-loving ADHD child could pursue in the future is a software developer. I’ve written about this and other professions extensively in my Psychology Today blog, and I have included an excerpt in this article to get you started to learn more about how video gameplay might help your child with ADHD get a job in the future. 


“If your child loves his screen too much, find screen-based activities that could lead to a great job when he is older. Encourage him to learn how to code, create videos, develop animation skills, and use other tech-based skills. Here are a few technology and video-game-based jobs for kids with ADHD:


Software developers: High-tech fields can include a variety of careers such as computer technicians and software developers. Computer technicians often work with a team of colleagues to troubleshoot computer problems, while software developers often work independently to create and solve computer codes for programs, websites, or apps. This career may be appealing to individuals with ADHD because evolving technology provides stimulation to the frontal lobe region of the brain which may enable people to pay closer attention to detail when solving technological issues.”


If you are interested in learning more about how video gaming can help a child with ADHD get a future job, consider reading the rest of my blog here, where I list several more professions suitable for children with ADHD.

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