Innovative Autism-Friendly Jobs for the Holiday Season

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” For any child, especially those with autism, it’s never too early to explore their abilities and apply them to their interests. This holiday season provides the perfect opportunity for you to help your child begin to identify his or her unique talents needed for future workforce success!

Innovative Autism-Friendly Jobs for the Holiday Season


Theorized in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard University, all people possess one or more ‘Multiple Intelligences’ – traits that better represent one’s potential than the traditional measure of I.Q. For example, someone who has difficulty using language to communicate with others might be able to play music giftedly, or the person who struggles to read and write might be highly-athletic.

Think about your child’s strengths in the following seven areas.  Having him/her try some of these seasonal jobs can help build interest in future fields of study and occupations!

1. Visual-Spatial Intelligence (illustrates, creates art, takes photographs)

Seasonal jobs within the home:

  • Arrange where to place seasonal decorations like an interior decorator
  • Choose and coordinate everyone’s special holiday clothing like a designer
  • Draw pictures on homemade holiday cards, ornaments, and decorations like an artist
  • Follow ‘blueprints’ for how to construct the artificial Christmas tree like an engineer, architect, or builder
  • Take pictures at holiday gatherings to make a photo album like a photographer

Seasonal jobs outside of the home:

  • Volunteer to design sets or costumes at a local playhouse for seasonal plays
  • Inquire if your child can help design a holiday display for a local store
  • Create and hang decorations at the local soup kitchen, stores, place of worship, or school

2. Musical Intelligence (performs, composes, conducts, teaches music)

Seasonal jobs within the home:

  • Perform a mini holiday concert with songs or music for family and friends
  • Lead the family around the neighborhood for Christmas caroling
  • Teach someone how to sing or play an instrument for a seasonal song
  • Pick out songs and music for gatherings like a DJ

Seasonal jobs outside of the home:

  • Volunteer to maintain instruments or be a helper of the orchestra at a playhouse
  • Assist or perform with the school chorus or band

3. Interpersonal Intelligence (organizes, manages, inspires others)

Seasonal jobs within the home:

  • Stock and store warm clothing, emergency supplies, and non-perishable foods for easy access

Seasonal jobs outside of the home:

  • Act in a holiday play at a local playhouse
  • A greeter at a local superstore
  • A bagger at a local supermarket

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4. Linguistic Intelligence (speaking, reading, writing, understanding, social communication)

Though children with autism may have linguistic challenges, some have strengths within certain areas of language.

Seasonal jobs within the home:

  • Create poetry inside holiday cards for friends and family
  • Write ‘Happy Holiday’ and ‘Thank You’ cards for gifts received
  • Tell or create stories or plays for friends and family like an author

Seasonal jobs outside of the home:

  • Design a descriptive holiday menu at the local soup kitchen like a restaurant owner
  • Writing ‘On Sale’ posters for seasonal sale items at a local store like an advertiser
  • As Santa’s helper, volunteer to answer younger children’s letters to Santa

5. Naturalistic Intelligence (appreciates the outdoors, nature, ecology, agriculture, and animals)

Seasonal jobs at home, a farm, a nursery, or animal shelter:

  • Care for seasonal plants within the home garden or local nursery
  • Assist younger children to go on pony rides
  • Take care of pets’ needs at home or at a local animal shelter
  • Choose a real Christmas tree at a local nursery for the home
  • Recycle or re-use gift wrap, bows, and ribbon
  • Discover new ways to conserve heat in the home or building

6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (is physically active)

Seasonal jobs within the home:

  • Teach family and friends how to play new sports like a coach
  • Pack/unpack/carry holiday boxes like a mover
  • Put up seasonal decorations like a handyman or handylady
  • Prepare food for holiday parties like a chef
  • Help repair broken seasonal items like a mechanic

Seasonal jobs outside of the home:

  • Perform a seasonal dance at local a playhouse or school play
  • Stock shelves at local stores with seasonal items
  • Shovel snow for family and friends
  • Wrap toys for local charities

7. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (uses numbers to compute and to document)

  • Keep a count of broken and unbroken ornaments like an accountant
  • Budget money to spend on holiday party supplies and food like a party planner
  • Comparison-shop for the best prices to purchase gifts like a business owner
  • Track how many presents were purchased for friends and family like a bookkeeper
  • Measure and calculate how many rolls of gift wrap are needed like a mathematician
  • Measure snowfall and temperatures compared to previous years like a meteorologist
  • Measure various ingredients for holiday baking like a baker

Seasonal jobs outside of the home:

  • Treasurer at school for a holiday charity drive


Analyzing and identifying your child’s talents will help him or her capitalize on potentials for a future career.  As a result, your child will have a better idea of what brings true fulfillment, so that a ‘job’ is not a ‘chore.’

This article was featured in Issue 55 – Celebrating with the People We Love

Karen Kabaki-Sisto

Karen Kabaki-Sisto, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a Communication Expert and Advocate helping people with autism for over 20 years. As a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and Applied Behavior Analysis Instructor, Karen has been empowering people with autism and special needs to have more meaningful conversations like never before. Her highly effective “I CAN! For Autism Method™”—perfected for over 10 years and now incorporated within the iPad app I Can Have Conversations With You!™–is changing lives through improved social and language skills. It is 100% fun for both kids and adults to use! 

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