Pre-employment Skills for Children with Vision Loss: An Early Start to Career Education

Dates:2009-2012
Funder: CNIB
Contact: Biljana Zuvela, Researcher/Evaluator, biljana.zuvela@cnib.ca or Kerrie St. Jean, Professional Practice Lead, Children’s Services, kerrie.st.jean@cnib.ca

CNIB Research and Service Quality is conducting a three-year project aimed at exploring and supporting pre-employment skills for children in Canada aged 5 to 14 who are living with vision loss. A rationale for conducting this project is built upon prior research that has indicated that in order for people with vision loss to fare better in the employment world, there needs to be a greater emphasis on teaching pre-employment skills in childhood.

The first objective of the project is to develop an evidence based model for the essential pre-employment skills needed by blind and visually impaired children and their families, and to implement programs to support the development of these skills. In order to achieve this goal the first year of the project will be focused on:

  • Conducting an extensive literature review in the area of pre-employment;
  • Identifying current pre-employment programs and services for people with vision loss offered by CNIB; and
  • Holding consultations with experts and key stakeholders on early education of children with vision loss.

The second objective of the project is to develop tools and resources to assist CNIB staff, parents, and teachers to help children build these necessary skills for future employment success. The purpose of these resources is to enable parents and teachers to recognize ways in which a child’s environment can be modified to facilitate development of pre-employment skills, to identify competencies which may need further development as well as activities that children can engage in to foster development of these competencies.

The final year of the project will be focused on implementing the tools and program plans, evaluating effectiveness of these programs and assessing the utility of the assessment tools. The evaluation results will be used to make final revisions of the programs and tools.