“Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” for Youth Who Are Blind or Low Vision

“Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” applies to all children, especially those who are blind or who have low vision. Why? Because we know that children with blindness or low vision need purposeful exposure to jobs and career choices that they may not “see” on TV or by casually walking down a street. Let’s devise a plan for making the experience enjoyable, accessible, and tailored to your child. Most importantly, “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” is a day of bonding between parents and children while they embark on a full day of career exploration and exposure to job concepts and skills!  

Utilize the “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” Foundation’s Activity Center to prepare for the experience and consider the following to ensure the experience is accessible and meaningful for your child who is blind or low vision. 

Tips for an Accessible and Meaningful “Work Day” 

  • Plan an age and developmentally-appropriate day for your child. The experience is recommended for children and teens 8-18, but I say the experience is completely customizable. You can host your child for a full day or a limited duration, or you can plan to work on various tasks for short periods of time with ample breaks for your child. 
  • Create a simple tactile map of the building, one area of the building, or even the office layout to help orient your child to your workplace before setting foot in the office.  
  • Plan a few activities or experiences based on your child’s individualized learning goals. Examples include intentionally modeling good manners or specific social skills, utilizing a calendar system, involving your child in group work, or solving problems together. 
  • Begin the workday with an orientation to the building.
  • Identify and discuss social skills and work habits, known as “soft skills”, which allow you to be successful on the job.  Recognize your unspoken job expectations and explicitly teach them to your child. Remember, your child isn’t learning by observing. Share the formality of clothing and shoes you choose; the importance of your timely arrival; the requirement of your participation in meetings; the thought process behind decisions you make; and the avenues you utilize when questions or concerns arise. Talk through how you handle frustration, take initiative, and show respect for the employment team.
  • Communicate the technical skills, or “hard skills,” you are paid to execute. Share how you acquired the skills (through education, former work experience, and mentoring) as well as how you continue improving with additional training and practice. Next, involve your child in the execution of tasks, using hand under hand necessary, and share your research on how the task can be accommodated for an employee who is blind or low vision. 
  • Talk with your child about why you work. From the income to the mental challenges and social connectedness, give your child the “big picture” of your day-to-day grind. 
  • Introduce your child to coworkers, clients, and staff at every level. Ask a variety of individuals to communicate their job responsibilities to your child. If your child is interested in a particular role, perhaps they can ask to shadow an individual for a set amount of time or interview them to learn more about the position. Your child may even ask for the individual’s contact information to establish a mentor relationship. 
  • Consider concepts that can be taught to your child while they’re with you at work. Provide opportunities for your child to explore unfamiliar work or job-specific “concepts” you encounter at work, such as a cubicle, office, receptionist, file cabinet, uniform, cafeteria, or elevator.  
  • Talk with your child about the experience after the workday. Talk about what was encountered, what your child noticed, what they wondered, and what experiences/ concepts reminded them of. Find out what was learned and enjoyed; find out what was confusing or frustrating. Tell them what you enjoy about work and what you find frustrating or exhausting. Lastly, transition the discussion to what type of work your child wants to do in the future. Remember, people with vision loss are not limited to a “list of jobs they can do”, and it’s never too early to begin dreaming and planning for future work. 

Here’s to a meaningful and accessible “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” one that ushers in a season of career exploration! 

Next Steps 

When the “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” dust has settled, encourage your child to set additional goals for career exploration. Your child may wish to coordinate an additional job shadowing experience in a field of interest.

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