There is an endless range of job possibilities, depending upon the available resources, as well as the needs and interests of an individual student. Gone are the days when people who are blind or visually impaired are tracked into a particular job because of their visual impairment! Instead the team typically begins with a career interest assessment and then does an inventory of local businesses and organizations to identify a match for the student.
This list represents some of the current job descriptions of positions that have recently been held by students from Perkins School for the Blind. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but is shared here in the hope that you will create the best fit for a given individual.
|Work Environment and Dress Code
|Mass. Eye & Ear Infirmary Volunteer
Clerical: collating & assembling packets for pre-op patients;
Delivery: pick up & delivery of mail to and from departments throughout the hospital
Work Environment: Climate controlled, ability to tolerate busy, bustling hallways and elevators, ability to demonstrate and maintain friendly, customer-service attitude when interacting with patients and employees
Dress code: No shorts, no sandals, volunteer uniform and badge
|Franklin Park Zoo – Volunteer
|Wildlife Interpreter: Read and study or retain or access information about animals from animal fact sheets and present information to zoo visitors. Student must be comfortable speaking to the public and demonstrate the ability to study information on designated fact sheets, develop a script about the animal or exhibit, and initiate public speaking at the exhibit.
Work is mostly done out of doors, lots of walking to exhibits, which are spread throughout the zoo (some uneven terrain), ability to tolerate heat and inclement weather. Ability to demonstrate and maintain a friendly, out-going, customer service attitude when interacting with zoo visitors and employees.
Dress code: Volunteer shirt, badge, khaki pants/short, no sandals
|Watertown Savings Bank
|Coin Machine Operator: Opening coin rolls and emptying into coin sorting tray, lifting tray when full and pressing appropriate buttons on machine to execute sort; respond to machine cue to change coin bag or seek out teller support for assistance.
Climate controlled, student works independently in a quiet and reserved setting. The job is done standing up in order to access machine, lift tray and press buttons. Fine motor control to open coin rolls and release coins. Student must be able to seek support of bank tellers as needed in a professional and non-disruptive manner.
Dress code: business casual; no sandals or shorts
Russo’s Garden Center
|Plant Care Assistant: Watering plants in retail setting, using watering cans and hoses to water plants
|Working in a small area of the retail space in close proximity to the customers, can be warm, work done from standing position in a busy store environment
Animal Care Assistant: Clean cages and animal bedding, clean and replenish food and water bowls. Occasionally handling small animals.
|Climate controlled, most tasks of this job are performed in a standing position.
|The Perk Cafe
|Barista: Open/close cafe, make drinks (hot/cold), take orders, serve customers drinks/food items, manage cash transactions, open, clean, stock. (Jobs can be modified to meet student skill level.)
|Cimate controlled, most tasks of this job are performed in a standing position.
|Maplewood Assisted Living
|Plant Care Assistant: Help with plant care in and out of the facility.
|Assisted living center: climate controlled. Students using plant care materials, accessing water, pruning, etc. Students will be interacting with elderly residents on site and are expected to stay with staff and maintain moderate volume and professional interactions with residents and employees.
This is only a partial list and our hope is that it will be a springboard for ideas in your own community. Let us know what you try and what works in your area!
More on Preparing for Work:
Tiered work systems
Giving back to the community
A team of support
By Charlotte Cushman