How to speak with your dyslexic child about their career prospects


Parents can get anxious about what their dyslexic child might be able to do for a living when they grow up, especially if school is a struggle. So, how can you help nurture your child’s career interests without over-raising ambitions or creating self-limiting beliefs?

Adam Grant, professor of management and psychology, said in his recent essay that trying to identify the ideal job is actually counter-productive because you’re highly unlikely to ever find it, and if you do, the reality of it will be underwhelming as it’s not what you’ve built up in your mind.

As a result, Grant says the main question you should avoid asking your child is ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’

There are four main problems with this question.

  1. Their responses will be limited to the few jobs they’ve been exposed to
  2. As their parent, you might inadvertently project your own unrealistic expectations or limiting beliefs and pessimism on to their ideas
  3. We have no idea what jobs of the future are – or aren’t – anyway, so we can’t begin to imagine whether jobs of today will still be around, or what other new occupations today’s children can expect to fulfill as adults
  4. They’re not likely to have just one job, but a suite of jobs, and roles that change throughout their career

Your child’s career prospects are being shaped every day by global issues beyond anyone’s control. Think back just 15 years ago. Did you ever dream that jobs like Social Media Manager, Data Miner, 3D Print Technician or Driverless Car Engineers would exist, let alone be the norm? Fast forward 15 years from now, can you begin to imagine what industries and roles might exist that your child and their differing abilities will excel in? The good news is that, according to Ernst & Young’s report on the Value of Dyslexia, the jobs of the future will need dyslexic thinking skills, and the young dyslexic people of today represent the talent solution of the future, providing their natural skills in problem solving and collaboration, and character strengths and values are well nurtured.

Farai Chideya, author of The Episodic Career, predicts that the next generation are unlikely to have the same job for life, as their parents and grandparents expected; so adaptation to change, full understanding of themselves and awareness of the changing job market are key to putting their talents to best use.

So, instead of the dreaded ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ question, the best way you can have the career conversation with your dyslexic child is to ask them ‘what type of person do you want to be?’, ‘what problems do you want to solve?’, ‘what difference to you want to  make?’ and ‘what talents will you use to do that?’ They might just surprise you. You’ll be helping them prepare for life, as well as work.

What responses do you get? Let us know.

Check out this John Oliver clip highlighting the downside of children deciding now what job they want to do.

Katie Carmichael, Career Coach


Dyslexia Scotland’s Resource Centre

A brilliant service and resource for Members.

Composition with hardcover books

I am Doreen and I have recently taken over the resource centre volunteer role. I have known about the resource centre for years, but somehow never got round to using it until I was put in charge of it. I have noticed the main users of the resources are tutors. Which is great and tutors please continue to get in touch and borrow the books and educational resources.  That’s what they are there for.

However, few other members seem to be making use of this fantastic resource. I am not sure what the barriers are for everyone. For myself my lack of use was down to not really understanding how to use the website to search for things. Also, it wasn’t like I could just pop to Stirling from East Kilbride (the way I could my local council library).

So I would like to provide a quick introductory guide to Dyslexia Scotland’s Resource Centre. Members of Dyslexia Scotland can:-

  • Borrow 2 books at a time
  • For up to 3 months (and extensions can be requested)
  • Books/resources can be sent in the mail
  • Books can be requested by  email at or by calling 01786 446650. 

You Can Search the Resource Centre Books:-

  • In the member’s area of Dyslexia Scotland’s website
  • You will need to sign in. At the top of the HOME screen on the purple navigation bar you will find “Member login”
  • Click on “Member message board”



I’m normally in the office in Stirling on a Monday or a Tuesday (10:30am – 3pm). More information about our resource centre can be found here.

Doreen Kelly, Resource Centre Volunteer

A gift for you

We’re sharing our latest magazine with you. 

Spring is here and with the lighter evenings and milder days we also bring you the Spring edition of our members magazine, Dyslexia Voice.  As usual, the magazine is packed full of great articles and information for children and adults with dyslexia, parents and professionals.  We want more people to be able to benefit from the magazine so, as a one-off, this edition will be available online to everyone. Subscribing to future magazines means that you’ll become a member of Dyslexia Scotland and part of a growing voice to help us raise awareness and understanding of dyslexia across Scotland.

Membership costs just £25 for a family, £20 for individuals and £10 concessionary rate per year.  As well as the quarterly magazine you also get discounts on assessments and our Education Conference.  You also get access to our Resource Centre and the chance to borrow books – there’s an online catalogue if you don’t live near us and we can send out resources.  There are often some great offers on the members’ area of our website and if there’s a branch of Dyslexia Scotland in your area, a percentage of your subscription goes to them.

The theme of the Spring magazine is Dyslexia and Studying and we hope you enjoy it.

Following huge demand for our Parent Masterclasses, our Autumn magazine will be a special edition featuring tips and information from the events.  Our Winter magazine will focus on self-esteem, social well-being and social interaction.

Why not make sure they’ll be dropping through your letterbox by joining online today?


#joinDS #membership #dyslexia