It’s a question I hear regularly. “What jobs can people who are blind have?”
If you’re asking this, perhaps
- you are futures planning as you recently received a diagnosis of a visual impairment, and you’re increasingly needing assistance at your job;
- your spouse is losing his or her vision and is afraid of losing a job;
- your young child or teen has recently experienced vision loss;
- you’re considering hiring an individual who is blind or visually impaired, and you want to know their capabilities; or
- you are merely curious as to employment opportunities for those who are blind.
People who are blind or visually impaired are far more similar to sighted individuals than different. They have individual strengths, experiences, interests, lifestyles, and work values. As such, they hold as diverse employment as that of their sighted peers.
I know at first thought it seems vision loss would limit career opportunities, but apart from driving, job accommodations (most of which are free or extremely inexpensive) enable individuals to perform nearly all job functions with no sight or minimal sight.
As the National Federation of the Blind eloquently explains in a Future Reflections Publication, “One of the damaging stereotypes about blindness is the belief that the blind are limited to a specific and finite “list” of jobs that “blind people can do.” Even when we hear about a blind person who is doing something new or novel (new to us, anyway), we either discount it (she is the exception), or we just add one more “job that blind people can do” to our list. Seldom do we rethink our erroneous assumptions about blindness.
The real tragedy is that we—parents, teachers, friends, enemies, relatives, and yes, even other blind people—teach this flawed thinking to blind children. These blind youngsters don’t think, “What do I want to do?” and “How am I going to do it?” but, “What can blind people do?” and “Which one of these things that blind people can do am I most interested in?”
Thank you, NFB. I couldn’t have said it any better.
So, now that you’re aware that careers are practically limitless for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, take these next steps:
- If you or a family member is visually impaired and needing increased assistance on the job, it’s time to utilize AFB’s Directory of Services to locate a nearby agency that teaches the skills needed to maintain employment.
- If your child or teen is visually impaired, it’s time to prepare him or her for life after high school.
- If you’re an employer, it’s time to recruit from a pool of workers who are visually impaired.
- If you’re simply curious about employment opportunities for the blind and visually impaired, may your interests lead you to a career working with individuals who are blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind.
There, I hope that answers your question!