Pop-Up IEP

13. "These are the only job training opportunities we offer at this school."

Why is this statement problematic?

Oftentimes, children’s potential career interests/skills are neglected because the emphasis of education is placed on the core academic curriculum (i.e., reading, math, science, and social studies). However, for students who are blind or visually impaired who will not be attending college, career education is an important component that needs to be addressed. Individual Transition Plans tend to be minimal in scope because teachers may have limited time, resources or knowledge to implement appropriate transition planning. While many districts have transition specialists, they are not typically trained in visual impairment and may inadvertently suggest only jobs which they think people who are blind or visually impaired would be able to do. Instead of selecting careers based on disability, it is essential that transition plans be developed around the strengths and interests of the child. It is also important that children who are blind or visually impaired develop the independent living, social, self-advocacy and job readiness skills that are necessary for them to get and keep a job. Even though many children who are blind or visually impaired are excelling academically, securing employment upon graduation can be challenging because of discrimination or insufficient preparation in independent living skills.

Possible Responses for Parents/Advocates

  1. “Maddy loves to sew. She loves the vivid colors and tactile differences of fabrics. I know the school has had her selling candy in the school store for the past two years, but we would like to see her gain a variety of work experiences. Let’s start by identifying job sampling opportunities related to Maddy’s interests, such as working at a fabric store or working at a clothing store.”
  2. “Even though Keenan’s vocational rehabilitation counselor is unable to provide services until he is 18, she suggested that we begin assessing the services he is receiving and determine when he will lose entitlement to those services. It is important to know which support services will be ongoing, which ones will be lost, what the eligibility criteria are for new and potential services, and if we need to sign up for any waiting lists. Keenan wants to move out and be independent, and thus, services need to be coordinated to ensure that he has a smooth transition from school to work.”

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