National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Why It Matters for Our Children


#InclusionWorks. It’s the theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) 2016 and it couldn’t be more true.

Whether your child or teen is solely blind or visually impaired, or your child has blindness and additional disabilities, as AFB President and CEO Kirk Adams said, "For most of us, work is a big part of how we define ourselves and measure our value. For many people with disabilities, it’s also the key to independence."

Yes, your child will value work.

Aspects of work your child may appreciate include executing a routine, socializing, goal-setting and accomplishing, receiving compensation, supporting him or herself, and the act of creating.

Likewise, the world will value your child’s contribution to the workforce. Your child will be an asset to each company.

Inclusion works.

I remember my transition age students who participated in work experiences over the summers; though not all days were easy, they beamed with pride as they spoke of their jobs, and they also thoroughly enjoyed spending and saving their paychecks! I also fondly remember visiting their jobsites and watching their coworkers seemingly thrilled to have the seasonal help.

Truly, everybody advances in inclusion.

girl playing with plastic tools, wearing construction hat

And here are two occurrences that must happen for your child to have successful employment:

  1. Employers must continue recognizing the abilities of people with disabilities; they must know accommodations allow people with disabilities to perform job tasks. Utilizing a few or many accommodations, people with disabilities can be tremendous assets to companies with whatever individual strengths and experiences they will bring to the table. Employers can also be taught to think outside the box and hire folks with significant disabilities for specific job tasks, known as job carving.

  2. Your child needs to prepare for his or her transition to independence. Particularly if traditional employment is in your child’s future, he or she must be acquiring independent living skills, social skills, technology skills, orientation and mobility skills, as well as job seeking skills, and the know-how to maintain a job and succeed at work.

That’s why NDEAM matters for our children. They will value work, and we can be preparing them for the workforce, as well as shedding light on the value of people with disabilities in the workforce to employers.



Ways to Celebrate NDEAM

5 Great Ways to Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Exposing Blind Preschoolers to Jobs

Job Exploration for Blind Adolescents

Our Stories: People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Succeeding at Work and Life