Awake Challenged, Punctually Challenged, and Underground Thursday Challenged
By Jennifer Kolarik, BS
Lead Career Coordinator, CIP Brevard
One of the biggest hurdles that adolescents and young adults on the ASD or LD Spectrum face is having a reversed sleep schedule where they stay awake at night (often playing video games or surfing the internet) and sleeping during the day. This is especially so if students are living independently for the first time. No one is around to tell them to “go to bed.”
This impacts their work lives whether it’s volunteering, interning, or doing a paid job. Even if they make it to work on time, they may lack energy and even nod off because they are tired and/or sleep deprived.
Meet Melanie. Melanie was very bright and enthusiastic about her internship working with animals. Soon after she started her internship, her supervisor noticed that when Melanie sat down during slow times, she would close her eyes for what she thought was a moment and then fall fast asleep. It was my job to figure out how to best help her stay awake at work. I came up with some strategies so Melanie and others like her, who were continually “awake challenged,” could do their jobs without falling asleep on the job or nodding off.