“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 a Workplace Experience for Your Child: Consider organizing a day for your child to visit your workplace. This experience can be tailored to your child’s age and developmental stage. You have the flexibility to make it a full day or shorter, with breaks as needed.
- Create a Tactile Map: Prior to the visit, create a tactile map of your workplace. This map can help your child understand the layout and key areas of the office.
- Design Activities Based on Learning Goals: Identify specific learning goals for your child. These goals can range from modeling good manners and social skills to introducing them to a calendar system or involving them in group work. The activities should be age-appropriate and aligned with your child’s developmental stage.
- Teach Soft Skills: Soft skills refer to the social and work habits that contribute to success in a job. During the workplace experience, discuss and exemplify these skills. This includes explaining the importance of punctuality, participation in meetings, decision-making processes, and how to handle challenges and frustrations.
- Explain Technical Skills: Share information about the technical skills required for your job. Explain how you acquired these skills through education, previous work experience, and ongoing training. Involve your child in tasks related to these skills, using a “hand under hand” approach when necessary. Additionally, discuss how these tasks can be accommodated for employees with blindness or low vision, highlighting the importance of accessibility.
- 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.
Heading in For The Day
- Begin the workday with an orientation to the building.
- 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.
- Discuss 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. Discuss your child’s encounters, what they noticed, and what sparked their curiosity. Explore the experiences or concepts that these moments reminded them of. Ask about what they learned and enjoyed, as well as any aspects they found 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,”
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.