Pivotal to the success of teenagers with visual impairments transitioning from high school is the collaboration and partnership among the teen’s family members and the teen’s professional team. Professionals have a responsibility to educate and guide the family towards helping the teen choose a realistic postsecondary option. With transition on the forefront, now more than ever, professionals are committed to empowering the family to assist the teen in learning and developing the skills needed to be successful with the chosen option. Conversations with a family about their teen’s future can be complex and can touch on sensitive topics, but the discussions are necessary and important.

This series of lesson plans is intended to be used by professionals to expand familial involvement in preparing their teen for transition to employment. Involving the family in the skill building activities covered in these lessons is meant to encourage family members to take some ownership in the preparation of their teen for transition. In addition, this series of lessons should foster increased dialogue between the families of teens with visual impairments and the professionals working with the teens. Parents and guardians will be encouraged to take an active role in helping guide students toward making realistic and rational career choices and/or independent living arrangements.

Through completion of the series of activities, family members will learn how to use the American Foundation for the Blind FamilyConnect learning community as a resource for exploring information on transition related topics. The learning activities are for parents and do not have to be distributed in order. The responses should be collected by the professional and used for discussion, sharing and planning with the family and other team members who are working with the teen. The lessons support the CareerConnect mission of increasing employment among people with vision loss. The CareerConnect website can be used to supplement the lesson plans with additional activities.

For families who do not have access to a computer and the Internet, the referenced articles from the FamilyConnect website should be printed and sent home with the lesson plan. Some of the lesson plans have multiple activities for the family members to complete. Family culture and schedule should be considered when selecting a return date for the materials.