Internships for Neurodivergent Teens

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

For neurodivergents like myself, career opportunities seem to come and go as frequently as social media trends. It can seem almost impossible to find an internship that feels like the “right” fit, especially when searching for accommodation-friendly choices that cater to a neurodivergent brain.

In my current internship at Mentra, my unique neurodivergent traits are valued in a way that was often overlooked in school. Though hard to find, opportunities are out there. Here are four things neurodivergent teens can do to land a dream internship:
Maximize Special Interests
Special interests are those “fixations,” or intense hobbies, that often make you, you. These traits can lead to success because as neurodivergents we have remarkable focus and dedication when interacting with our special interests.

A lot of neurodivergents struggle with regulating dopamine (a neurotransmitter associated with reward-based functioning). This can present as a lack of motivation and executive dysfunction—except when it does the opposite for those “fixations” that really get us excited.

Here are some examples of intense areas of interest among neurodivergents and how they can be applied to potential internships in those fields:

 Aircraft and transportation — Any company that uses data analysis and visualization techniques to solve optimization problems, map out routes, or test different software, or works with supply chain solutions or any kind of production-based industry, would benefit from utilizing a person with this special interest.
 Pets — Animals can be calming and often do not present socially complex relationships. Local pet stores often need part-time assistants to care for the animal...

 

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