In Celebration of NDEAM: We Look Back, We Advocate, and We Plan for Gainful Employment

Hello, October, arguably the most magnificent month—not (only) because of the sensational scents, sights, and sips of fall, but (also) because October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, NDEAM for short. In celebration: We stop and remember. We educate others. We plan and gear up for the future. Any individual who wants to be gainfully employed should be, including your future-adult child who is blind or low vision. Let’s propel our sons and daughters forward.

Stop and Remember

Every NDEAM, we pause and reflect on how far our country has come with workplace accessibility for people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision.

Speaking of advocacy…

Educate Others

Every NDEAM, we educate and advocate within the platforms we have been given. Depending on your current roles and responsibilities, you may

  • As an employer or employee, engage in training and mentorship.
  • Share stories of successful individuals who are blind or have low vision in your social network.
  • Support your child’s school and activities. Advocate for their rights and showcase the abilities of the visually impaired.

Thankfully, the U.S. Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) makes it easier to educate and advocate. According to their website, “ODEP offers a range of resources to help employers and other organizations plan NDEAM observances, including not only the official poster but also sample articles, a press release, proclamation, and social media content.”

Plan and Gear Up for the Future

America's Recovery Powered by Inclusion NDEA month poster logo

Every NDEAM, we refocus on preparing our children for their future gainful employment.

We can best prepare young people who are blind or have low vision for a job or career through incremental skill development in the expanded core curriculum (ECC) and by providing them with a variety of work-related experiences. To help you as you support your son or daughter, read Practical, Research-Based Tips for Preparing Your Teen who is Blind or Visually Impaired for Gainful Employment.

4to24 App

Let me introduce a new tool from Mississippi State University: the 4to24 app. It offers skill-building activities and resources. Parents and youths receive tailored suggestions to improve all ECC areas. This prepares them for a fulfilling adult life and employment.

As stated on their informational site:

“The 4to24 mobile app is a resource for parents of children and youth who are blind or have low vision and are between the ages of 4 and 24 years.

If you’re a parent, the app provides information, activities, and links to resources to inform you about skills and experiences that would be helpful for your child as he or she grows. The focus is on building independence overtime to prepare your son or daughter for successful employment and independent living as an adult.

The app provides modules of information on topics like building social skills, literacy, technology, academics, and daily living skills. Modules are self-paced (no deadlines!) so you can use the information at your convenience.

Youth with blindness or low vision who are aged 16 to 24 can also use the app and will receive information about the same topics, written specifically for a younger audience.”

Other Resources

Tools like APH ConnectCenter, 4to24 app, Perkins’ Compass, and transition teams support your child’s future preparation. Whether choosing traditional or alternative jobs, your child can find meaningful work. We celebrate NDEAM to reflect, advocate, and prepare your child for their workforce future.