A career planning and employment resource for people who are blind or partially sighted

Using this Website to Help a Child or Adolescent

Children and youth who are blind or partially sighted face many challenges throughout the career development process. It may be difficult for them to determine their interests, strengthen their abilities, and refine their values when they can’t easily observe others or see what’s happening outside of their immediate environment. They may have to rely on the observations of others to learn how their abilities compare to other children their age and those observations may or may not always be accurate.

Likewise, learning about jobs being performed in the community and by people they don’t know intimately can be complicated without access to the incidental or casual learning that occurs for most children through vision.

Knowing what uniforms employees wear, what tools workers use, and what tasks they are performing can best be learned by youngsters who are blind or partially sighted through first-hand experiences – literally through touch and doing or performing the tasks. What this means is that building knowledge, skills, and abilities may be negatively impacted by lack of sight if youngsters don’t have adequate access to information delivered in alternative ways (through hearing and touch, for example) and experiential learning opportunities.

Fortunately, this website can help you assist the children and adolescents that you care about learn what careers are available and develop the skills they’ll need to successfully search for and secure employment. The following suggestions are provided as guidance, however, you’ll be the best person to judge what will work best for the child you are concerned about as you know him or her best.

  • Spend time reading through the Living Independently section. Although this section is written with adults in mind, the competencies discussed are the same ones your child will need to master to successfully move into work and other adult roles – better to know what the end goals are while you have time to work on skill building with your child.

    The sections that are particularly relevant to younger children are the sections dealing with taking care of yourself and taking care of your home. For school-aged children and youth, the sections on orientation and mobility (Getting Around), communication skills, and self-advocacy (speaking up for yourself) are extremely relevant.
  • You may want to choose which area of the Learning and Education section you review, based on your child’s age and school level: pre-school, primary, secondary, or post-secondary. Pay close attention to the competencies outlined at your child’s grade level and decide whether your child has the knowledge and skills described. If so, continue to reinforce the skills and see whether he or she can apply what’s been learned in different environments.

    For example, if your child can do the dishes at home – see whether he or she can do the dishes at a relative’s home or when camping out. The idea is to ensure that your child can transfer skills learned in one setting to other settings. If your child hasn’t mastered the competencies listed, consider which of the competencies you and your child believe are most important and target them for improvement.

    You may want to work on the skills at home and enlist the assistance of school-based personnel or other friends and family members to help as well. To help you track your child’s progress, download the Career Education Competencies Checklist document (a text only version is also available).
  • After you’ve read the section that is most relevant to your child’s age, you may want to also review the sections for older children and adult learners to anticipate what knowledge, skills, and abilities he or she will need to acquire next in order to be well-prepared for a career. The section that focuses on secondary school competencies includes a download to a self-assessment instrument for students called the Transition Competencies Checklist. A version for parents is also available.

    Transition Competencies Checklist- Students document download

    Transition Competencies Checklist- Students text only version

    Transition Competencies Checklist- Parents document download

    Transition Competencies Checklist- Parents text only version​
  • Regardless of your child’s age, review the section on disability-specific skills training and be sure that your child is learning what he or she will need to integrate into school, work, and the community. You understand that the world is designed for sighted people and your child must develop skills such as reading with braille, optical devices, or technology.

    He or she will need to be able to travel comfortably in the community and get around at home, school, or work using strategies that don’t rely solely on vision. There are many other areas that must be addressed – social skills, career education, etc.; however, once these disability-specific skills are mastered your child should be able to integrate into the larger community with a minimum of difficulty.  
  • When your child is an adolescent, he or she will likely want to work outside of the home for pay. At this point, you will want to read the content in the Preparing for Work section with your child and offer to help by:
    • reading and offering editorial suggestions on any paperwork (applications, résumés, or letters of interest) he or she produces
    • negotiating to provide transportation or other assistance he or she identifies as important in the job search
    • practicing with him or her for interviews
    • providing feedback on his or her performance during practice interviews
  • As with the review of educational materials, you may want to read the Working Life section to get a sense of what to anticipate with regard to your child’s future in the world of work.
  • Visit the Success Stories section for interviews with successfully employed adults. These are a great source of information and can give you and others who care about your child insights into what the future may hold for him or her. Enjoy meeting these engaging adults and learning about what they do and how they’ve managed their lives and responsibilities. 

Please visit the Friends and Family Resources section for useful links to other informative sites and related information to help you assist your child prepare for a life that includes work and career roles. ​​​​​​

Friends & Family Resources

Visit the Friends & Family Resource section for useful links to organizations, programs, directories and more

​Friends & Family Resources

Success Stories

Visit the Success Stories section to access video, audio and print interviews with individuals who are blind or partially sighted enjoying meaningful careers

​Visit Success Stories