Exposing Blind Preschoolers to Jobs
Your child will one day decide to pursue a particular career. To help her make that choice, you can help her learn that adults pursue many different careers, some more and some less suited to her interests and skills.
Strategies for Exposing Your Child to a Variety of Careers
- Talk with your child about your job and the jobs of all family members. Discuss the job responsibilities, what is worn to work, the company’s purpose, and the leadership structure (“Mommy has a boss…”). Provide greater details as the child matures.
- Participate in dramatic play in the role of specific jobs. For example, play fireman, restaurant, or police officer. This allows a fun and age-appropriate way for preschoolers to learn about job roles and responsibilities. See “Pretend Play Introduces Blind Children to Jobs” for additional ideas.
- Participate in official “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Days.” While geared for children ages 8 through 18, your preschooler will benefit from early exposure to your career; if an hour is as long as your child is comfortable participating, take it! Read AFB CareerConnect’s blog on the subject, “Get Your Children Thinking About Employment.”
- Ask your supervisor if your child can explore your worksite for an unofficial tour.
- Invite your neighbors to describe their jobs to your preschooler or explain their careers yourself.
- After your child understands the concepts of community sites—such as the grocery store, pet store, veterinary clinic, doctor office, dentist office, gas station, drug store, and school—talk about the job positions necessary to operate the sites.
- When possible and appropriate, introduce your child to working members of your community as you are receiving their services. For example, “This is Kevin. I know his name because I am reading his name tag. Kevin works here at the dry cleaners. We’ll hand him my dirty work shirts and pay his team to clean the shirts.” If “Kevin” does not appear too busy, you may choose to tell him you are teaching your children about jobs and ask if he can describe his job to your children.
- As you observe particular interests in your child, talk to her about careers that use the specific skills. If feasible, explore the job sites, tools, and clothing related to her careers of interest.
- Encourage your child to think about questions she may want to ask employed persons in her careers of interest. Seek out individuals who may be willing to talk with your child about their experiences and answer her questions.
- Introduce your child to any visually impaired workers in your community. You will be helping your child understand that a visual impairment does not hold one back from being successfully employed. You will also be teaching her that persons with visual impairments are employed in a variety of occupations.
- AFB CareerConnect’s Our Stories includes interviews, profiles, and stories of adults with visual impairments who are successfully employed in a wide variety of careers. Tell your child about these individuals or read a particular story to her that she may find interesting and encouraging.