Living a better life with multiple disabilities

5 tips to help young adults with visual impairment and other disabilities build a more engaged, rewarding life in the community

A young woman in a wheelchair pushed by a middle-aged man grabs school supplies from colorful bins

There are many ways for parents to help young adults who are visually impaired with other disabilities pursue their interests. For example, it may be possible to find opportunities in the community to work part-time or volunteer.

August 23, 2016

There’s no blueprint for life, especially for a young adult who is visually impaired with multiple disabilities.

That’s especially true after a son or daughter graduates from public school or Perkins School for the Blind. How can parents help their young adults find activities that will fill their days with interesting and rewarding work, volunteering or hobbies?

Perkins Transition Coordinator Denise Fitzgerald offers some tips:

  1. Discover the young adult’s passions: Over the years, inside and outside the classroom, what is he or she most drawn to? Perhaps it’s the nuts and bolts of car maintenance, engaging in water sports or caring for animals.
  2. Map out opportunities in the community: While they might not always be obvious, there are many ways to help young adults pursue their interests. For example, a local company might be willing to let someone come in to work on shredding or recycling projects once or twice a week. Perhaps there’s a church that would welcome help with its mailings. Or maybe the community garden needs some watering and veggies delivered to the local food pantry.
  3. Develop a network: All parents want to create a more vibrant world for their child with disabilities. Parents can expand their support system by reaching out to people at church or school to learn about new opportunities. They can also approach organizations like the ARC, a national nonprofit with local chapters dedicated to serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  4. Understand the types of services available: With adulthood comes a new set of funding formulas and program options, so it’s important for parents to educate themselves and discover how they can use them to set up their young adults for success.
  5. Stay positive: While navigating an entirely new system isn’t easy, parents should know they’re not alone – there are many people who are willing to help, including the staff at Perkins.

For more in-depth guidance, to hear from experts and connect with other families, visit Perkins eLearning's "Paths to Transition."