CAREER & VOCATIONAL SKILLS
By: Carmen Willings
Career education for students with visual impairments needs to begin as early as possible and include self-awareness and career exploration activities, job seeking skills instruction, information about job keeping, and encourage opportunities for gaining work experience. Teaching skills in the area of career education can provide students with visual impairments of all ages with the opportunity to learn first-hand the work done by members of the home and community.
The students needs to gain an understanding of the many jobs that are available from the bank teller, to the gardener, to the social worker, to the artist, and much much more. The student who is blind or visually impaired should have the opportunity to explore a wide range of careers in a systematic, well-planned manner as they will not be able to casually observe these jobs as their sighted peers can.
Areas the student may need specific instruction in include: knowledge of relationship between work and play; understanding of the value of work; knowledge of characteristics of valued workers; awareness of the variety of jobs people hold; awareness of jobs people with visual impairments often hold; job acquisition skills (want ads, resumes, applications, interviews); typical job adaptations made by workers with visual impairments; in-depth knowledge of a variety of jobs of interest; work experience; laws related to employment; and management of readers and drivers.
Provide students with many opportunities in order to gain awareness of jobs. Provide opportunities for students to, participate in field trips to work sites where a variety of tasks are expected of employees.
Help the student develop an awareness of jobs by providing students the opportunities to:
Practice Job Skills
After students have had an opportunity to observe different types of jobs, provide tools used at those jobs and encourage the students to practice the skills used on the job sites. Help the student practice job skills by encouraging them to:
Receiving Payment for Service
Provide many opportunities for students to discuss, list and practice ways to receive payment for service. It may be appropriate to ask the parents or other family members at this time to assist in setting up jobs that the student can do for neighbors in advance and then have the students "sell" their services and role-play their marketing pitch at school or at their home.
Help the student practice this skill by encouraging the student to:
Rules for Jobs
As a member of society, there are rules that people are expected to follow. Similarly, students have to follow rules when they are at school and different work sites have different rules and expectations of their employees. Help students understand the importance of following rules by having the students:
Students should be encouraged to develop positive work behaviors. Students must learn these interpersonal and work skills in order to be successful in the workplace and not only obtain a job, but maintain a job. The following is a list of critical work behaviors. The student must learn to:
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Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.
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