"Amelia," I ask my six-year-old daughter, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"An artist—the abstract kind—so I can paint what I want," she replies.
Her answer is ever-changing, and I am ever-asking. I want her to recognize she has the power to make career decisions, and she can take inventory of her career interests.
This exchange between parent and child is typically commonplace. I’m told from adults who are blind or visually impaired, however, it’s not as common of an exchange between parents and their small children with visual impairments, or at least wasn’t when these adults were little. I attribute this to parents of children with visual impairments
not yet envisioning their children as grown adults; after all, it feels so distant and feels especially difficult to grasp if the families don’t know adults with visual impairments
not yet understanding adults who are blind or visually impaired are absolutely employable and capable of tremendous career success and not just in a select number of professions
Thinking About and Planning for Your Child’s Future
So, parents, it’s October, which is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and I want to take this opportunity to remind you to deliberately think of your son or daughter as one who is on his or her way to adulthood.
To help you do so, get to know well-adjusted adults who are visually impaired.
Next, read about adults with visual impairments eliminating barriers to employment and working in many different types of careers.
Lastly, I want to remind you to intentionally and age-appropriately help your child prepare for successful employment.
Resources to Help Prepare Your Child for Future Employment
Parents of babies and toddlers can browse FamilyConnect’s articles in the Babies and Toddlers: Transition to Independence section.
Parents of preschoolers can browse FamilyConnect’s articles in the Preschoolers: Transition to Independence section.
Parents of grade schoolers can browse FamilyConnect’s Grade Schoolers: Transition to Independence section.
Parents of teenagers can browse FamilyConnect’s Teenagers: Transition to Independence section and utilize the following resources to help prepare your son or daughter for successful employment:
- Understand transition services which must begin no later than age 16.
- Invite your child to work through CareerConnect’s free Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide.
- Explore the APH CareerConnect site to learn about obtaining a job and advancing in the workforce as an individual with a visual impairment.
Parents of teenagers with multiple disabilities can additionally browse FamilyConnect’s The Future Starts Now section.
So, ask your little daughter, "What do you want to be when you grow up," or your teen son, "What type of career do you think is a good fit for you?" Be a part of making his or her goal a reality.