Success at Work for Young People with Visual Impairments
Finding a job is one challenge. Keeping it is another. While obtaining work, including the job search and interviewing, are complex, maintaining employment and advancing in a career are often more challenging. Your teenager will need information on succeeding at work before she starts.
- Help her recognize areas where she requires assistance. Teach her where to locate support and how to appropriately ask for help. Ensure she understands that relationships are a “two-way street;” she can give gas money and provide coffee for a coworker who gives her an occasional ride to work.
- Explore CareerConnect’s Virtual Worksites to review a variety of accommodations (technology, tools, or processes that allow the individual to perform a task without vision). If possible, give your child opportunities to observe employees with vision loss performing a variety of job duties using accommodations.
- Encourage and expect the development of positive work habits. Employers search for candidates who are productive, punctual, honest, and diligent. Specific job duties can be taught on the job, but strong work habits need to be established prior to getting hired.
- Discuss employer expectations with your teenager. She needs to understand her supervisor will train her on specific duties and will expect her to increase independence over time.
- Coach your child’s communication skills. She should know how to listen well, respond appropriately, and she should not steer every topic of conversation toward herself.
- Ensure your teenager understands the process of solving problems. The more opportunities she is given to independently solve problems as they arise in her everyday life, the more comfortable and prepared she will be to solve problems as they arise on the job.
- Give your child insight into advancing in employment. If advancement is her goal, she should learn to recognize gaps within her organization and seek to fill the gaps. She will be an asset to the company and will exceed her employer’s expectations.
- Teach your teen that her job performance matters. She will not remain employed if she is not efficient and accurate and if she is not held to the same standard as her peers. Give her information on improving her job performance, including staying up-to-date in job-specific skills.
Use the video and audio files within Aaron’s Adventures in Employment to further discuss succeeding at work. Each piece uses humor to engage and instruct youth in a variety of employment-related topics. Relevant topics include dressing appropriately, handling uninformed coworkers’ assumptions of people with vision loss, and adjusting attitudes.
Additionally, read and utilize the content of AFB CareerConnect’s “A Game Plan for Work-Related Success When You Happen to Have a Visual Impairment.” It highlights Dawn B. Golub’s research-based “Model of Successful Work Experience for Employees Who Are Visually Impaired,” found in the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness.