Across the nation, it’s a critical time of the year for teachers of students with visual impairments and other professionals responsible for providing services to students who are blind or visually impaired. We are actively engaged in a state of preparation and planning for our students as they begin their journeys into the new school year. Not only are we responsible for teaching and supporting students with visual impairments in learning the skills needed to have a successful school year (academically and socially), but we are also preparing them to be future employees in the workforce.
In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported people with a disability are less likely to have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher than those people with no disability. In addition, those who attained higher levels of education were more likely to be employed than those with less education.
Does the reported data cause you to pause and think about your middle and high school students who are blind or visually impaired and are exploring the option of attending college or career school? Do you have clients with vision loss on your caseload who need counseling on attending college to reach their vocational goals outlined in their Individualized Plans for Employment? If so, use the new Transition to College: Program Activity Guide to prepare college or career school bound students for obtaining a degree or vocational training and ultimately employment as an adult who is visually impaired.
Transition to College: Program Activity Guide Lessons
The Transition to College: Program Activity Guide includes over 20 lesson plans (available online and in a braille ready format) for teachers and professionals to use for teaching skills students with vision loss need to learn prior to attending college or career school. Following are suggestions for using the first five activities in the guide:
Lesson 1: College Bound As a Student Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired
Students with vision loss have a critical need to learn about and prepare for college and career school as early as middle school. Utilization of lesson one will support students in deciding if attending college or career school is the right choice for them. An emphasis is placed on students making an informed choice by researching post-secondary education options so that they plan to transition out of high school accordingly.
Lesson 2: Post-Secondary Education Options for Students with Visual Impairments
This exploratory lesson can be used to guide students in deciding what they need to do to achieve their future personal and professional goals as an adult. Researching post-secondary options, which range from entering the workforce straight out of high school to attending college or a career school to obtain a degree or training prior to employment, is an important component of lesson two.
Lesson 3: College Knowledge for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Part One
Do your students need to learn what a bachelor’s or master’s degree is and what is required to obtain a college degree? Use this lesson to teach students the various degrees of study they can pursue at college and the certificate options available at career school.
Lesson 4: The Degree I Need to Succeed in the Workforce As a Visually Impaired Job Seeker
Facilitate the development of your students’ research skills by using lesson four to help them discover the level of education or training required for the job or career they would like to pursue as an individual who is blind or visually impaired.
Lesson 5: Admissions Requirements for Visually Impaired Students
Meeting the entrance requirements is a key factor in whether students will attend college or career school. Are your students aware of those requirements? Are they following a long-term timeline to meet the requirements prior to applying for college or career school during the beginning of their senior year of high school? Use the activities in lesson five to facilitate your students’ learning about the criteria required to be accepted into the college or career school of their choice.
Vision loss should not limit the options students who are blind or visually impaired have for obtaining a college degree or additional training to increase their employment opportunities. Help change the previously reported statistic by revving up your instructional toolkit by adding the first five activities.
Be sure to check back next week on the APH CareerConnect website for five additional activities to be launched!