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Browse By Topic: Low Vision

Christina Holtzclaw Uses Her Career to Empower People with Disabilities

For the last 14 years, Christina Holtzclaw has worked tirelessly at the Northwest Georgia Center for Independent Living in Rome, Georgia. This nonprofit organization assists individuals of all ages who have all types of disabilities and helps them reach their goals of living independently. They serve 15 counties, and the majority of the staff are people with disabilities. In her role as assistant director, Holtzclaw meets one-on-one with consumers in the community, collaborates with the office nursing home coordinator and other staff, works on the budget and finances, meets with the board of directors, and whatever else needs to be done. The core services of the Center are independent living skills training, information & referral, peer mentoring, self-advocacy, and transition


Traveling an Unfamiliar Route and Taking a Risk as a Person Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Suppose you’ve graduated your orientation and mobility lessons and you’ve successfully mastered a handful of routes. You can get from home to work and back, to Starbucks and back (because let’s face it, this route is perhaps the most vital), to the gym and back, and to the grocery store and back. You and the cane have found your rhythm; shorelining, well, it’s practically a breeze; and bus travel now only gives you a smidge of anxiety. You’ve made great strides. But now the guys at the office invite you to a new restaurant in town. You’re determined to get there independently. Are you up for the challenge? With the collection of orientation and mobility tools and skills under your beltbut please, if you haven’t received proper training in travel skills for those who


Job Applications Inquiring About a Driver’s License? Discriminatory—Here’s Why

Hello ma’am, are you hiring, one can ask relentlessly around town; 'Job opening in _______ field' one can type in the search bar and scour the web with more intensity than a private detective. When determined to find a position, the hunt is on for an assortment of job applications in hard copy and electronic format. As we then fill out form after form after form, it’s easy to spot similaritiesone of which is, Do you have reliable transportation, or worse, Do you have a valid driver’s license, even when driving is not an essential job function. While the former is arguably tolerable, the latter is arguably discriminatory. It’s a lose-lose for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. If yes is


When Your Visual Impairment Is Confusing to Your Coworkers

Perhaps you have retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and you are finding it increasingly difficult to use your vision in low light and, much to your frustration, you are aware of your gradual loss of peripheral vision. Let’s say you are currently reading fine print with ease, yet you are using a cane as you leave work in the evening, and you’ve been told you consistently fail to notice a coworker waving hello from the corner of the room. You’re overwhelmed, and your coworkers, well, they’re puzzled. Whether or not your eye condition is recent or progressive, your coworkers are likely just as confused. They don’t understand the functional implications of vision loss. They don’t know those with


Community Travel Skills—a Predictor of Workplace Success for Individuals Who Are Blind

When you and I take a look at the employment statistics for people who are visually impaired, we wonder what can be done to improve them; specifically, we wonder how to educate potential employers, and we wonder if there are any skills individuals who are employed have that those who are seeking employment may need to master. Hence, I’ve been reviewing research and articles this morning. I’m discerning the research-based benefits of braille use,


Deteriorating Eyesight and an Increasingly Difficult Workload to Manage

Demoralizing, frustrating, and intimidatingthree feelings common to individuals who are losing eyesight and who are recognizing their workload is becoming increasingly difficult to execute independently. If this describes you, you may feel all alone and hopeless. First, you are not alonetake a peek at the facts and figures of adults with vision loss. Second, there is hopelet’s examine how you can acquire skills in independent living, assistive technology, travel, and employment, enabling you to live a satisfying life at home and in the office. Relearning Independence In effort to acquire adaptive skills: Utilize


Paying It Forward as a Visually Impaired Mentor

Have you heard this before? You can’t change the world, but you can change one person at a time! As I reflect on my challenges and accomplishments as a person who is blind, two visually impaired people come to mind. They helped me understand what is possible, and their advice changed my outlook about living with vision loss and starting a career. My First Mentor The first one, I’ll call him Darren, was someone I had never encountered previously. My father learned about him through a newspaper article and thought I should read it too. It featured a story about Darren. It highlighted the fact that he was a blind business owner. He ran a karate studio and was


Maintaining Your Drive in the Face of Adversity

By now, you may know retinitis pigmentosa (RP) barged its way into my life during my college years. My CareerConnect blog posts have documented many of the challenges it created while pursuing goals, but I want to talk about maintaining the drive to reach them. Let’s be honest. No one anticipates losing their vision. It’s quite a surprise to be told blindness is inevitable. Shocking news of that sort can derail the best-laid career plans. My eye condition interrupted my drive to earn a


Adapting to Vision Loss

Over the last 20 years, my eyesight has transitioned from low vision to blindness. Of course, it hasn’t been easy. The emotional effects of vision loss wore me down more than anything else. While there is hope and help, I’ve got one word for you, Adapt. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect you to adapt to vision loss by simply snapping your fingers. I know, first hand, it is a process. In some cases, like mine, it’s a long-term


Creating Customized Resumes That Stand Out for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Do you sit at your computer wondering how to customize your resume? Do you have a hard time figuring out what to take out or what to leave in? Psst! I’ve got a little secret for you. Use the job listing as your road map for your resume. A few years ago, I was really interested in a particular job listing. I sat down to type up the best resume possible. But, I got stuck. Of course, I considered a hasty response. I could have submitted a slightly outdated resume, but I thought better of it. The problem wasn’t how to


Negative Feedback: How to Handle It and How to Use It

Are you familiar with feedback yet? You know. When someone like a teacher or a manager tells you what she thinks about your performance or your progress. Sometimes it is called constructive criticism. Oh yes, now you remember. If you’re in the academic world, then feedback may be coming from a teacher, a professor, or an advisor. If you’re in the professional world, then feedback is coming from a manager, a


Workplace Note-Taking Skills for Blind and Visually Impaired Employees

No matter what line of work you choose, note-taking skills will be necessary. You will have to take notes for many reasons. Most often, it occurs when you attend a meeting like a staff meeting or a one-on-one meeting with your manager. Managers use these kinds of meetings to relay information, to assign tasks, or to obtain status updates about projects. You must be ready to take notes when you attend them. Naturally, vision loss challenges your note-taking skills in the workplace, but the simple act of doing it can help set you apart as a professional. So let’s talk about ways to develop this skill. Identify an Effective Note-Taking Method What is the easiest way for you to take notes,


The Right Way to Archive Career History

Last week, a friend encouraged me to submit my resume to a nonprofit organization. She told me its executive director began searching for a new grant writer. Years ago, I would have dreaded the burden of updating my resume, but I was ready for it last week. See, I used to think a resume was a dump for all of my work and educational experience. The more experience I had, the more pages I needed to capture it all. So, I turned in these four- to five-page resumes when I applied for jobs. Ten years ago, I picked up a helpful tip about archiving my career-related history. Credit for this tip goes to


Workplace Holiday Parties: You’ll Need These Independent Living Skills as an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Successful employment and sound independent living skills unquestionably go hand in handif we’re dressed noticeably sharp for work, if we have reliable transportation to and from the office, and if we are consistently on time and prepared for work meetings, we are setting ourselves up for maintaining and advancing in our career. These are the more obvious independent living skills that are work-applicable; what about the independent living skills on display during the holiday season? Wouldn’t it be wise to identify and fine-tune them ahead of time, ensuring they are ready to be confidently utilized during a workplace holiday party,


Intentionally Networking This Holiday Season as One Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Decembera wildly busy month threatening to burst the seams of the calendar. Maybe you and your family members are involved in a handful of extracurricular activities and have been invited to celebrate the holidays with a number of individuals and organizationsnot only Christmas with your loved ones or Hanukkah with friends who might as well be family, but also a holiday party with your karate class, an invitation to be the plus-one for your significant other’s workplace celebration, and a New Year’s social with your friends and friends of friends. If you’re not quite sure if you’ll RSVP because you’re more comfortable staying home, you have a lot going on, or you’re exhausted at the mere mention of the month of December, I hear you; I also want to push you


Want to Enhance Your Professional Skills and Gain a Dash of Holiday Cheer? Volunteer!

I don’t know your specific storywhether you’re desperately seeking employment or eagerly seeking advancement in your career fieldbut I firmly believe this counsel applies to us all, regardless of current employment status. The majority of us will have extra time in our schedules come mid to late December, and I think it’s important to decide beforehand how this time will be spent. Of course, plan a few days of rest (self-care and stress management are imperative), visit family and friends (heed these holiday travel tips), and my


Vision Rehabilitation Services Available to Veterans Desiring to Re-Enter the Workforce

Veterans, we salute you and thank you for your service to our great country. You are here because you have lost all or a significant portion of your eyesight, and you recognize there is work to be done and skills to be gained before you will re-enter the workforce. We at CareerConnect want you to know what this road to rehabilitation can look like and what vision rehabilitation services you are entitled to receive. Emotionally Coping The first step of successful rehabilitation after


Turning a "Can’t" Into a "Can" As an Individual with Vision Loss

There have been many times in my life where I had to tell myself, Steve, you are your own worst enemy! Simply put, I made excuses for myself. Whether justified or not, I was my own worst enemy. I prevented myself from making timely progress. Timely is the operative word. No doubt, from time to time, I chose to say, I can’t, rather than, I can! Fear, anxiety, and despair crept into my mind, clouding what I knew was the right course of action for myself and my career. Early on, my skills for living with visual impairment were insufficient. I told myself I didn’t need any training. I had a lot of vision left, so no need for me to bother with basic skills, right?


Striving for Financial Independence As a Blind or Visually Impaired Worker

Earning an income is the first step on the path to financial independence. But, earning income is dependent on securing employment. For those of us living with blindness or visual impairment, financial independence may feel out of reach. My vision began declining before I landed my first full-time job. Of course, it was a bummer. The uncertainty of the situation made my head spin a bit because I worried obtaining employment might elude me. Thereby, throwing my ability to earn income into chaos. Let me be honest. I had goals. Goals that depended on making money. I wanted to marry my girlfriend, buy a house, start investing for retirement, and start a


Setting the Table for Success: What Visually Impaired Job Seekers and Employers Can Do to Improve Disability Employment

Imagine you have just taken a seat for a job interview. Your skills and your training have led you to this moment. You’re confident. You’re ready for it. When the interviewer asked you which reasonable accommodations will be necessary for you to perform your job responsibilities, you confidently explain what you need, including a screen reader, like JAWS, to do your computer work. Then, instead of a long, uncomfortable pause, the interviewer says, Great. Our


Meet John Carty: IBM Mainframe Programmer Who Is Visually Impaired

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we are happy to share another story of an employee with vision loss who is succeeding in the workplace. Today, we are sharing John Carty's story. John is a computer programmer who has learned to adapt quickly in an ever-changing industry. Read how John has managed to stay on top of his field for 20 years by asking all of the right questions. Meet John Carty, Visually Impaired Computer Programmer My name is John Carty, and my career as a computer programmer began when I graduated from El Centro College Computer Programmer Training for


Meet Denna Lambert: Visually Impaired Disability Program and Project Manager at NASA

In March 2017, Denna Lambert was a presenter at the AFB Leadership Conference in Alexandria, VA. She was on a panel where she shared about her life and career at NASA. In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we wanted to continue the conversation and share more of her career success. Here’s her story. Denna Lambert Successfully Launches Her Career at NASA As a Visually Impaired Project Manager As Denna neared graduation, she began looking for a job with the help of her college's career services. Denna explained how she


White Cane Reflections

I had reached that point in my life where a decision needed to be made: to become a long white cane user or not. It was the summer of 2001. Six years since the doctor diagnosed my eye condition. As the time passed, my vision slowly worsened. My ability to walk safely and independently worsened too. I bumped shoulders with other people at the store. Walking dim hallways created anxiety for me. Basically, the growing blind spots in my field of vision were threatening my mobility and my independence. More importantly, I began working full-time, and I needed a safe, reliable way to get around. The only choices


Perseverance Pays Off: Finding Gainful Employment As a Physical Therapist with Vision Loss

It’s officially National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)! A time to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and educate about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. To kick off our favorite month, we are sharing Trina Bassak’s story. Trina is a physical therapist and VisionAware peer advisor who has glaucoma. After a difficult job search, Trina landed a job with AIM Home Health and quickly learned how to adapt her 27 years of experience into a new role as a home health physical therapist. Perseverance Pays Off: Finding Gainful Employment As a Physical Therapist By Trina Bassak <img


Job Seekers with Vision Loss Should Have No Limits to Employment Opportunities

When searching for a new job, you might wish you had a magical list of all the jobs that people who are blind or visually impaired can do. Wouldn't that be handy? But, in reality, do we really want to be limited to a specific list of employment opportunities because of a visual impairment? Job seekers with vision loss should have no limits when it comes to employment options. Your career path should be completely up to you, your interests, your abilities, your aptitudes, and your academic achievements. People with visual impairments are


Students with Visual Impairments, College Is Different from High School!

Did you wake up in your dorm room during your first few weeks of college and think, College isn’t anything like high school! For many students with vision loss, this can be a rude awakening. You no longer have a teacher of students with visual impairments to adapt materials, make sure you have your textbooks on time, or intercede with your teachers when you need an accommodation. It’s essential that you know your


Are You Prepared to Succeed in College As a Student Who Is Visually Impaired?

Once you graduate from high school, your adult life as an individual with vision loss begins; a life that will be shaped by the decisions you made in high school. After you receive your diploma and toss your cap, will you have a plan to succeed in the workforce and to fulfill your dreams as an adult who is visually impaired? If your plan includes pursuing higher education to obtain a college degree or attending a career school (also known as technical or vocational school) to learn specific skills needed to perform a job, you’ll want to be fully prepared to pursue your dreams. Five Questions to


Paying for College As a Student Who Is Visually Impaired

When you hear the words college education, do you automatically think cha-ching? It’s quite normal to associate dollar signs with attending a post-secondary institution, especially as the costs of a college education continue to rise in our country. Unfortunately, many teenagers and adults with vision loss often assume college is not an affordable option for them to pursue. Have you made the same assumption for yourself? If so, I encourage you to reconsider. Attending college or career school may be more affordable than you think. The reality is there are many resources available to assist you as a student with vision loss for paying


Introducing the Transition to College: Program Activity Guide for Students with Visual Impairments

Across the nation, it’s a critical time of the year for teachers of students with visual impairments and other professionals responsible for providing services to students who are blind or visually impaired. We are actively engaged in a state of preparation and planning for our students as they begin their journeys into the new school year. Not only are we responsible for teaching and supporting students with visual impairments in learning the skills needed to have a successful school year (academically and socially), but we are also preparing them to be future employees in the workforce. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported people with a disability are less likely to have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher than those people with no disability. In


Pounding the Rock for Blind and Visually Impaired Job Seekers

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet, at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before. Jacob Riis (1849-1914) This quote is displayed in the San Antonio Spurs dressing room. Down here in South Texas, the head coach, Gregg Popovich, is known for his pounding the rock mindset and culture he created in the Spurs locker room. It is not Popovich’s quote though. It comes from a book he read during the 1990s. The quote belongs to Jacob Riis, a staunch proponent of immigration rights and decent living conditions in New York during the late 1800s.


Three Traits That Make Blind and Visually Impaired Job Seekers Stand Out

I am amazed whenever I hear stories about fellow, blind and visually impaired individuals who are unstoppable. Personally, I know a few of them, and their accomplishments take my breath away. Let me be more specific: it is their positivity, their work ethic, and their grit that I admire. Those traits seem to be drivers of success. By no means am I saying those are the only meaningful ones, but, in my opinion, blind and visually impaired job seekers with those traits can turn into valuable assets for any organization. Just think for moment. Those of us who are blind or visually impaired learn a killer set of skills. In the course of developing those skills, our mindset develops as well. Where am I going with this? If you are a hiring


A Career Highlight Worth Sharing on the Americans with Disabilities Act Anniversary

I touched upon this noteworthy job experience in a previous post, but, in celebration of the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I felt it deserved a deeper dive. Why? Because it is my favorite job experience where the ADA is concerned. Let me elaborate. The Job Search It started with a simple job search. Believe it or not, I found the job in the want ads of a newspaper. Yeah, a


Power Up Your Request for Reasonable Accommodations

My time in the workplace has spanned nearly 25 years. During that time, I have used low tech and high tech equipment to do my job. These items have comprised my arsenal of assistive technology in the office. Some of these items include: Video magnifiers, Screen magnification software, Screen


My Evolving Perspective and Understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Twenty-seven years ago, a historic piece of legislation was on the verge of becoming law in the United States. For millions of Americans, it was a moment which had taken years to finally arrive. Little did I know that this legislation would one day be significant to me. Yes, you guessed it. The legislation I speak of is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It was the summer before I began my


Summer Work As a Digital Nomad? Could This Be a Suitable Opportunity for You

Are you looking for summer work? Are your computer skills the envy of the dorm? Do you have work or volunteer experience on your resume? If you have not landed a summer job yet, it is not too late. So check this out. First, let me say I had never heard the phrase, "digital nomad" until a few days ago. USA Today published an article called, "5 Summer Jobs You Can Take with You to the Beach." I like the beach. Just returned from one a week ago, so it caught my attention. Have you heard of this before? Digital nomads are defined as "people who work from wherever they want, whenever they want, and for


Avoid a Rough Transition to Work As a Job Seeker Who Is Visually Impaired

AFB CareerConnect’s Resources Pave the Way Well, here we are in the graduation season. Congratulations to you if you are celebrating at this time of the year. Many of you are transitioning from high school or college to work this summer. For those of you who have not landed a job yet, hang in there, be sure to use CareerConnect resources for conducting your job search. I have a personal story to share about my first career endeavor. It is a cautionary tale. But, learn from my experience and plan accordingly. <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.asp?ImageID=7685" alt="Older man and young man shaking hands while


Job Forecast for June: Employment Opportunities for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Did you hear about the job hiring forecast? It's raining jobs! According to CareerBuilder, 45 percent of employers plan to hire permanent, full-time employees this quarter and nearly half of employers are hiring temporary workers over the next months. Contrary to the 2017 hurricane forecast, which projects an above average number of named storms this season, I'm genuinely excited about the hiring outlook. Job seekers and professionals serving individuals who are blind or visually impaired, you should be too! Wait, there's more. CareerBuilder also projects that 62 percent of hiring employers will place


Solutions or Excuses? Which Describes Your Actions As a Job Seeker or Employee Who Is Visually Impaired

The title of my blog may cause you to raise your brow. As a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) working to prepare my students who are blind or visually impaired for the workforce, I find myself raising my brow when I hear excuses from students who choose not to locate or utilize known solutions to be successful in school, successful in the workforce, and well, just successful period! All of my students with vision loss are capable of achieving their individual greatness in this world, and I know you are too. I get it. I'm guilty of making excuses too. We all are. Excuses are often our way to deter our regrets or humiliation and protect ourselves from criticism. When I didn't exercise yesterday by going on my daily walk, I blamed it on the Florida heat. It was a credible


Taking a Dog Guide to Work As an Employee Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Are you living with vision loss? Interested in starting, extending, or restarting your career? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a dog guide to work? Two different guide dogs have been a part of my life over the last 10 years. Naturally, working in an office setting forced me to make some adjustments to my personal routine. When the changes became good habits, taking a guide dog to work became easier. As you create your


Turn Fear into Action, Part 2: My Story of Losing a Job and Changing Careers

In the first post of Turn Fear into Action, I wrote about a possible scenario where job security evoked fear and how to handle it proactively. This time I will share a personal story of turning fear into action. Can you pinpoint the elements from part one in this story? My Story of Turning Fear into Action In early 2008, one of my biggest customers sent word to me that they would be ending a sales and service contract by the end of the year. This customer accounted for 60 to 70 percent of my self-employment income. A significant chunk of revenue. From the moment I heard the news, my stomach began turning, and my head


Turn Fear into Action, Part 1: Dealing with Job Insecurity As a Visually Impaired Employee

A Primer for Overcoming Fear The power of fear is a well documented emotion. Scientists and researchers have studied its effects on our bodies and minds for decades. Every one of us will experience it during our lifetime in one way or another. How about handling fear at work? Numerous examples of fear-causing events exist in the workplace. None more fearful than a threat to your job security. Let us start with an example of how to turn fear into action in the workplace as an employee who is blind or visually impaired. Scenario: Fear for Your Job Security You fear for your job security because


Preparing for Home Based Work As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Millions of Americans enjoy the comfort and convenience of working from home. Specifically, those who are self-employed, and those employees who work remotely for a company. Maybe you are one of them. Self-employment has been my primary income generating activity for the last 15 years. Working from a home office has been a cost effective, convenient option for me too. Plus, no long commutes, no walks in bad weather, and no stress about packing lunch.


It's National Teacher Appreciation Day! How Will You Show Your Gratitude for Teachers of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?

Today is a day for honoring all teachers in the teaching profession and for recognizing the contributions they have made to the lives of their students. Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen Keller's beloved teacher, once said, "No greater honor can be paid a teacher than the recognition of her work." As a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and former student of many influential teachers, I couldn't agree more with Anne. This week, students, parents, and others will recognize the important work


Is Asking for Help at Work As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired a Sign of Weakness?

How many times this week have you (with a feeling of reluctance, a timid voice, and a cringe on your face) asked someone for help? I recently asked for helpthat is, after I spent an hour attempting to troubleshoot a problem I had with my tablet. After I put my frustrations and stubbornness aside, I called technical support, and my issue was resolved in five quick minutes (by a technician who graciously thanked me for calling). Why didn't I just call and ask for help to begin with? I'm sure you can relate whether sighted or visually impaired. Many of us take pride in being able to figure things out by ourselves and often go to great lengths before having to admit we don't know the answer and succumbing to asking for assistance. I know I sometimes do.


Developing the Confidence to Succeed in the Workforce As a Person Who Is Visually Impaired

Editor's Note: Today's blog post is by Steve Cardenas. Steve has a combined 22 years of corporate, small business, and nonprofit experience. His personal mission is to help blind and visually impaired individuals unlock their potential and attain employment and career advancement. Developing the Confidence to Succeed in the Workforce By Steve Cardenas Do you feel frustrated about entering the workforce? Do you talk yourself out of pursuing job opportunities? Do you feel like your skills and accomplishments are inadequate? I confess. I answered “yes” to those questions a few times during the last 20 years of living with retinitis pigmentosa. I am guessing, because you are a CareerConnect reader, you know


Is Your Visual Impairment the Reason Why You Aren’t in the Workforce? It Shouldn’t Be.

Does the thought of someone asking you what you do for a living fill you with anxiety, stress, or embarrassment? If you're currently unemployed, I imagine you'd like to avoid answering the question or change the topic of conversation. This might be especially true if you are at a social event with others who are employed and (boastfully) exchanging answers to the popular ice-breaking question, "What do you do for a living?" Working matters to us all; not only to sighted people but also to individuals who are disabled, including blindness and visual impairment. Holding a job contributes to our self-identity in


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding Telecommuting As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

The idea sounds pretty heavenly, doesn’t it? Working from the comfort of your own home without the hassle of commuting with a visual impairment. Yes, just about everybody likes the idea of it! While I can see the appeal and I do think telecommuting is a solution for transportation issues for folks who are blind or visually impaired, I do not think it’s the solution for all work-related issues for our population. Regardless, it may be a good fit for you or it may be worth considering for a


The Braille Music Tour: Blind Hip Hop Artist, NovaCain, Prepares for Upcoming Tour, Featuring Young ANT

NovaCain and Young ANT are doing something that no other rapper and no other blind musician have ever done: they’re building a genre of their ownblind awareness hip hop. It’s clean, it has a strong bass line and beat, and it’s geared toward a very specific purpose: to educate and unite blind and sighted children and young adults to see and believe in a brighter future. Meet Hip Hop Artist, NovaCain Mario Nelson, 28, now more commonly known by his stage name, NovaCain, started to notice his vision was blurring around age 17. By the time doctors were able to take action, the optic nerve atrophy was so severe that NovaCain became completely blind right before his 18th birthday. Shortly after, he lost his stepfather, and a


Two Blind Brothers: A Company Seeking a Cure for Blindness in Children and Adults

Bryan and Bradford Manning are designing a new business model to cure blindness, and it comes in the form of designer clothing. Their brand, Two Blind Brothers, is on a mission to donate one million dollars to life-changing research one t-shirt at a time. With each article of clothing sold, they are closer to finding a cure for blind children and adults around the world, and in the meantime, they are giving us something that feels as good as it looks. Meet Bryan and Bradford Manning Bryan and Bradford Manning, the co-founders of Two Blind Brothers, were diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease when they were kids.


What Jobs Can People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Have?

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


Your Power Outfit—Why It’s Important and How to Assemble It As Someone with Vision Loss

You enter the office, first day on the job; the big meeting, your nerves accompanying; the interview, for the long-awaited position; or you enter a routine day at the office. Are you picturing yourself? Good. What was your outfit of choice? I’m hoping it was one that makes you feel assertive, self-assured, and distinguished because what a difference an outfit makes. Wrinkled clothes? You may feel a bit self-conscious. Clothes too tight? You may feel stiff. Uncomfortable shoes? You may feel preoccupied. Clothes too casual? You may feel sloppy. Self-conscious, stiff, preoccupied, and sloppy? No thanks.


Preparing a Checklist for Your Journey to College: A Book Every College Bound Student with Vision Loss Should Read

Going to college? If so, I have a challenge for you. Read the new book from AFB Press titled, College Bound: A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments, 2nd Edition by Ellen Trief. If you are thinking, "I can't possibly add one more task to my agenda this spring or summer", re-consider. Trust me, I've read the book and it is essential reading for all middle and high school students planning to go to college, especially those who want to be successful. Available in paperback, online, or as an e-book,


Maintaining Employment As a Person with a Visual Impairment

We recently discussed landing a first job as a person who is visually impaired. We reviewed what it takes, from sound blindness-specific compensatory skills to sufficient interview preparation, and I mentioned we would continue the conversation to discuss what it takes to maintain employment as a person who is blind or visually


It’s Valentine’s Day and You’d Love to Secure a First Job

Happy Valentine’s, my friend. Maybe your mind is on your special date this evening or perhaps it’s on Singles Awareness Day (It’s legit, look it up!). Regardless, allow me to turn our attention from that ever-so-cute and chubby cupid to that ever-so-overwhelming and important job hunt. Take heart, folks who are blind or visually impaired can be successfully employed. Case in point—browse AFB CareerConnect’s success stories and note the variety of jobs held by people with visual impairments. Yes, it’s possible for people with visual impairments to


Pre-Employment Lesson Plans for Consumers with Multiple Disabilities

We previously discussed occasionally wishing we had a lifeline (in “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” terms) when it comes to teaching our students who are blind or visually impaired with multiple disabilities. We want to ensure we’re not overlooking important skill sets, we wonder what practical skills are imperative for students with multiple disabilities succeeding in the workplace, or we’re new teachers and want a starting place. As a lifeline, I offered pre-employment skills and activities for consumers with multiple disabilities. Today, I’d like to bring


Pre-Employment Skills and Activities for Consumers with Multiple Disabilities

Throughout my years as a transition specialist in Tallahassee, Florida, I remember introducing myself to a number of incoming students with multiple disabilities, getting to know them, assessing their pre-employment readiness skills, and working with teams to establish individualized career-related goals. Often the process was straightforward. Other times I wished there was (as “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” hosts would say) a lifeline. Call a friend, poll the audience, anything. Teachers of students with visual impairments, VR counselors, and transition specialists, if you too need an occasional lifeline, may this be the starting place. Here


Common Job Accommodation Questions and Their Answers for Employees with Visual Impairments and Their Employers

Whether you are a job seeker or new employee who is blind or visually impaired or an employer who is considering hiring a person with a visual impairment, I know job accommodations are a significant concern. You want to ensure equipment, workspaces, and processes are accessible; you want an efficient workflow, and you want to minimize the cost of assistive technology and adaptations. To ease your mind and put you on the right track for accommodating accessibility issues, review this list of common job accommodations questions and their answers: Job


Is Braille Useful on the Job?

The year is 2017… and wow, our third-grade selves would be shocked to see those digits. Speaking of digits, it seems the world has gone digital. Text messaging is preferred over post-it notes. LinkedIn is the networking tool of choice. Auto draft is the way to bill-pay. Fly to San Francisco for a job interview? Not necessary. There’s a video conference call for that. You get the picture. So, in this information and technology age, is print outdated and irrelevant? No way! I still jot notes, read books and magazines, create labels, use maps, and more. Same goes for the usefulness of


Visually Impaired Adults, Let's Talk Braille with Parents of Visually Impaired Children

You likely know January 4th is World Braille Day, as it is the late Louis Braille’s birthday. (Happy birthday, Mr. Braille. We think you’re pretty great.) For the past several World Braille Days, I have written to parents of blind or visually impaired children via the FamilyConnect Blog in hopes of educating them (particularly parents of blind babies who are recently immersed in our community) on braille and its value to folks who are blind or visually impaired. I talk about the


Don't Be Left Home Alone, Develop Winter-Weather Orientation and Mobility Skills

Northerners with recent vision loss, southerners with upcoming vacations in winter wonderland, and curious Floridians want to know, “How do you O&M in the snow?!” You’re likely quite nervous about getting around in upcoming frosty, or worse, icy, conditions. Don’t let the snow keep you cooped up or completely dependent on sighted help… It’s time to acquire winter Orientation and Mobility (O&M) skills! So, experts, what tips, tricks, and guidance do you have for those who are planning to travel in the frigid air, snow, and/or ice? My research (much of which is found on


When You Need a [National Lampoon's] Christmas Vacation!

It’s the end of the year—how are you holding up? Me? I am struggling to keep my eyelids open! Adding a brand new pup (Goldendoodle) to my regular workload and family responsibilities has proven to be tiring [ahem, absolutely exhausting] task. Thankfully respite is drawing near…a holiday break! I’ll be using it to enjoy my immediate family and rest; how about you? In the event you’re venturing to visit family or explore a new area on vacation, here are some things you may want to consider as a traveler with a visual impairment: Tips for Easy Holiday Travel Read up on the airport layout


CareerConnect at the Movies: Employment Advice Adapted from Film for Job Seekers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

If you're looking for the perfect mix of holiday festivities and practical career-related advice, you've come to the right place. Over the years, we have celebrated the holiday season by providing you with the job search advice and career resource skills you need to land your next job. And this year is no different! From the creators that brought you The Twelve Days of CareerConnect and


Questions to Ask a Mentor Who Is Also Blind or Visually Impaired

If you could sit down for an hour with any individual who is blind or visually impaired and successfully employed, to ask any career-related mentor advice…I wonder who you’d choose to glean from, and I wonder what questions you would ask. Topics may include his/her education, ongoing training, challenges, skill sets, accommodations, mentorship, transportation, the hiring process, networking, setbacks, disappointments, goals, and both positive and negative experiences. I suppose if I could sit down with an individual who is blind for mentor advice, I would engage one of the


To Our Veterans Who Are Recently Coping with Vision Loss

Coping. Maybe that word elicits anger. After all, one two-syllable, calm-sounding word cannot convey the road you are on: the depth and complexity of your loss, weariness, disappointment, fear, resentment, and rage. Besides, Who can cope with vision loss? You ask yourself. Before I attempt to answer this question, thank you, veteran. I know, I know...if you’re like my husband (active duty USAF chaplain), you don’t even want the recognition. I’m giving it anyway. I am beyond thankful for your sacrifice, your dedication, and your willingness to serve us; to serve me. You are strong and brave and valiant. It’s a good thing you are too, because you’re going to need those characteristics to move forward and let yourself


Meet Blessing Offor: Visually Impaired Contestant from NBC's "The Voice"

All month long we have been talking about National Disability Employment Awareness Month and how #InclusionWorks in the workplace. We’ve covered resources for finding a job, the use and importance of the white mobility cane, steps in the employment process, and what employers need to know about


First Steps in the Employment Process for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is the perfect time to jump start your path to gainful employment as a student who is blind or visually impaired. But how do you begin to take control and move toward your goal of having a job? Simple! The best way to learn something is to do it. Working while you're in school is the most important thing you can do to prepare for the workforce as an adult. It's hard to imagine that a part-time job after school, during the summer, or on weekends is so important for your future, but research tells us it is the single best predictor of being successfully employed once you finish school.


Drivers, in Celebration of White Cane Day, Here’s What to Do When a Blind Pedestrian Is Crossing an Intersection or Street

Since President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress passed its resolution in 1964, we celebrate White Cane Safety Day or more simply, White Cane Day every October 15th. The purpose of this exhilarating day (Yes, for those of us who are blind or visually impaired or who work in the field of blindness, this day is thrilling!) is to celebrate the independence of those who are blind and to educate drivers on white cane laws. In honor of White Cane Day 2016, let’s discuss a driver’s protocol when he or she sees an individual holding a white cane or using a dog


How to Stay Current in Best Practices As a Professional in the Field of Blindness

September marks the arrival of autumn—brilliant swaying leaves, invigorating crisp air, warm drinks soothing our chilled hands, and chunky cable-knit sweaters adorning us all. (That is, unless you live in Florida! Shout out to that great state I once called home.) Regardless, I think I speak for all when I say this change of season and accompanying weather is welcome. I’m reminded of our ever-changing field of blindness and visual impairments. As time progresses, our students/consumers become more diverse, as does the world into which they’re integrating. So, how do we become more knowledgeable on the unique needs of our recent clients (think: the rapidly growing population of individuals with brain-based visual impairments)? How do we keep up with today’s


Home Safety Tips That Work at Work for Blind and Visually Impaired Employees

By Neva Fairchild The same principles for safety and ease of access that you employ at home can go with you into the workplace, and yet how many of us have really taken a look around the office with safety and efficiency in mind? Here are some work safety tips to get you started: If you have any usable vision, contrast, lighting, and other


Nurses with Disabilities Have Great Abilities, Part One

Are you interested in pursuing a career in healthcare? Pursuing your dream job can be an arduous process, but it is one that can really pay off in the end. But what if you are visually impaired? Or what if you develop vision loss during your pursuit? No matter your visual impairment, you have to believe in yourself. With enough hard work and motivation, you can achieve your goals. Nurses with Disabilities Have Great Abilities by Detra Bannister For some odd reason when I was growing up I never thought about nurses or doctors being sick or having disabilities. I guess their association with treating the sick and


Congratulations to the Recipients of the IBM People with Disabilities Student Awards at Web4All 2016!

This was the second year that Web4All was able to grant qualifying students the IBM People with Disabilities Award. This year, four winners received the award, and presented their work to a community of researchers and practitioners who are working to make web, mobile, and wearable devices accessible for all. We thought that CareerConnect readers would enjoy hearing about the challenging work these students who are blind or visually impaired are pursuing, as well as what led them into their current fields of study. Ashley Cwikla, is a doctoral student at University of the Cumberlands, currently working at Harvard University as an Adaptive Technology Coordinator. She is earning her PhD in Education


Money Management: How Do You Teach It to Teens Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?

Let's play a game my children love: "Would You Rather?" Would you rather enter adulthood with a firm understanding of how your parents managed their money (including earning money; paychecks and taxes; budgeting; wise spending; saving; loans and debt; credit and debit cards; savings accounts; giving; and investing) or would you rather enter adulthood with minimal knowledge of how your parents earned, saved, and spent? Of course, I already know your answer. Though as a parent I know it's easier to independently purchase our family needs than include the children in the process. After all, money management is a private and


February Is Low Vision Awareness Month: Don’t Let Your Vision Loss Put Your Life On Hold

All over the world millions of people are experiencing vision loss, becoming overwhelmed by their changing vision, and struggling to find ways to maintain their independence. They are becoming discouraged that they cannot achieve personal or workplace success simply because of their visual impairment. Whether you have experienced vision loss all of your life or if you have recently developed low vision, there are tons of ways to learn to live independently and achieve your goals. So, what


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from Job Seekers and Employees Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Job seekers and employees who are blind or visually impaired, do you understand the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act? If you’re a little fuzzy on the subject, read on. First, understand that the ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against an individual based on his or her disability. This means that you, as a person who is blind or visually impaired, can file a complaint if you think you were not hired, were not fairly compensated, were not considered for promotion, or were not given job training opportunities solely because you have a disability. ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations needed to perform job tasks and trainings.


Newly Blind or Visually Impaired? Read These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding Transportation to Work

You have come to the conclusion, though difficult to swallow, you’re a non-driver due to your blindness or significant visual impairment. One of many questions likely conjured up include, “How can I get to and from work reliably?” I’m assuming you’re here in search of answers. Answers: First, there’s walking to work if you live close enough. If you haven’t started already, you should work with an Orientation and Mobility Specialist who is trained to teach you how to safely move about your environment. You’ll learn to use a white cane as a tool to detect obstacles in your path; you’ll learn to pay attention to landmarks you


Tips for Working with an Employee, Employer, Coworker, or Client Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired and Has Multiple Disabilities

I hope you are reading this blogpost because you are anticipating the arrival of a new employee who has multiple disabilities. You likely know I can’t fully prepare you to work alongside the specific individual who is blind or visually impaired and has multiple disabilities, because each person with multiple disabilities is incredibly unique in abilities, preferences, personality, and needs. I can, however, encourage you to clear your pre-conceived expectations and enter the partnership with an open mind and respectful behavior. Here are tips for successfully embarking on your partnership: Even if you have


Who Am I, and Why Do I Think Internships Can Benefit You?

Before the start of this year my experience in web coding was only slim. Equally as slim was my interaction with people who are blind or visually impaired. So why am I writing a blog to be posted by a foundation who center on these two things? I guess I should introduce myself. I, Ashley, am currently a junior in college studying online journalism and public relations. I started working with the American Foundation for the Blind this past January for the start of what will be a truly rewarding internship. I wanted to work with AFB to help better the lives of others. I have found that AFB's CareerConnect does exactly


Counting Down to Graduation: March, Furthering Your Education

Question: Do your career goals require additional education? Do you have a personal goal to go to college? Does your “dream job” require additional education? You are not alone! Millions of students each year are flooding college campuses in pursuit of furthering their education and increasing their job opportunities, but going back to school is a tough decision. It is a serious financial and time-consuming commitment that should be given thoughtful consideration. You will need to study for standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT, write college essays, fill out applications, prepare for college


Erik Weihenmayer: His Story As a Blind Adventurer

You might recognize him from the film Blindsight, the ABC television show Expedition Impossible, or maybe you know him from the Nature Valley commercials. But did you know that Erik Weihenmayer is a blind adventurer who has summited the highest mountain on each continent?! I have to say that he is one of my role models, not because I aim to climb mountains, but for the fact that he sees no barriers and changes perceptions. He is a former teacher, turned world-class adventurer and athlete, but he is much more than that. He is a husband, a father, and someone who pushes others to aspire for more. Erik Weihenmayer took the time to connect with our AFB


Prepared for My Job Interview: A Mildly-Awkward Poem Filled with Resources for Job Candidates Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Prepared for My Job Interview Put my best foot forward, that's what I'll do. All eyes on me, it's my interview. I'll be prepared; I'll be ready to go. See, here's what I've done and know: I've researched the company inside and out. I know how to give a first-rate first impression, no doubt.


Back to the Basics: The Art of Reciprocating Support and Favors As a Professional Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Last Friday my husband had a dinner function at work. He had asked me to accompany him, and I was eager to attend. We scheduled a babysitter two weeks in advance—Friday morning arrived, and that sitter was sick. I called two back-up sitters, with no luck. At this point the only way I could attend was enlisting the help of a friend. I called my friend who selflessly accommodated my last-minute request to watch our two preschool daughters. I called my husband to tell him our friends would watch the girls and I would be his date after all. His response: "Great! I'll pick them up a bottle of wine on the way home." Um. Wow. My husband was


Recipe for Success: The Secret Ingredient to a Compelling Cover Letter

You know the necessary ingredients for creating a cover letter: 1-3 Clean and sturdy white sheets of paper (if your cover letter will be printed) Internet and telephone for research purposes Professional words and tone You know the recipe for creating a suitable cover letter: Step 1: Find out who the recipient of your cover letter will be, and address the letter to the individual by name. Step 2: Do your homework on the workplace and open position. State how your skills and experiences will complement the workplace and fill the gaps the


Pay Periods, Withholdings, and Deductions, Oh My! A Tool for Teaching Basic Tax Information to Teens with Visual Impairments

The 2015 tax season is upon us. I can't think of a better time of year to begin teaching tax terms and principles to your students, teens, or consumers who are blind or visually impaired. As April 15th draws near, all will hear the related buzz words: taxes, tax day, tax refund, withholdings, and deductions. Give your students the gift of being in-the-know, while preparing them for their first of many contributions to Uncle Sam: the first paycheck. Saving you time and energy, we have written the lesson plan for you. Check out CareerConnect's


When to Say “No” at Work As a Person Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

I read an article this week regarding the importance of saying “No.” Yikes, guilty as charged, over here. I don’t know about you, but too often I give an instant yes, and slowly grow resentful. I feel resentful that I was even asked to perform such an “enormous favor” for a friend or acquaintance. In actuality, I should feel irritated at myself for saying “Yes”, when I really wanted to say “No.” It’s a “passive person” problem, and I’m over it. I’ve got the book Boundaries on my nightstand, and this year is all about healthy, assertive communication. But, when is it acceptable to say “No” at work?


Our Stories Interview with Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs – Constituent Relations for Walmart and Blind, Russell Shaffer

The work of our team at the AFB CareerConnect Program at the American Foundation for the Blind allows us to bring you such great stories about our top notch AFB CareerConnect e-Mentors, and the latest story is no different. The Our Stories Section is packed with inspirational and educational success stories about our mentors and friends who are blind or visually impaired. The latest story is the "Interview With


Person-Centered Planning, the Ideal Route to Discover Meaningful Employment for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired with Multiple Disabilities

When I think about my time as a transition specialist at the Lighthouse of the Big Bend, my mind wanders to the most empowering story. I think about a young man, I'll call him Jay to protect his privacy, who was smiley and kind; a man of few words. Jay was a teenager at the time, is totally blind, and has a significant intellectual disability. Jay's mom and I held a meeting, formally called a Person-Centered Planning meeting, with Jay and many of his teachers and specialists to discuss his strengths, interests, abilities, and aptitudes. We worked together to create vocational goals, as it was clear Jay would benefit from and enjoy part-time, straightforward work. We hoped to find a work experience that would prepare him for adult work and one that would be a meaningful social


Preliminary Skills for Successful Employment for People with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities

If you are working with an individual who is blind or visually impaired with additional, significant disabilities, you may wonder how you can help prepare him or her for successful employment. This blog post is for you. Classroom teachers, rehabilitation specialists, transition specialists, mothers, and fathers, please utilize this list of general skills and experiences as a guide to fostering the aptitudes and proficiencies your child or consumer will use as a foundation for work. Preliminary Skills and Experiences for Successful Employment Social Competencies Friendly disposition through


Employment Options for People with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities

Are you searching for work opportunities for yourself, a family member, or friend who is blind or visually impaired with multiple disabilities? It’s not easy to uncover, sort through, and review work prospects for people with severe disabilities who require life-long support. I want to provide a brief synopsis of typical work possibilities for this population, and touch on the benefits and drawbacks of each. Sheltered Workshops: The purpose of a sheltered workshop is to provide employment for individuals with multiple disabilities. The individuals are tasked with specific job duties, almost always repetitive physical


Yes, It’s Only January but Get Ready to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act This July!

This post comes to AFB CareerConnect from one of our talented and enthusiastic mentors, Katherine Schneider. Twenty-five years. Not all that long ago, but access has really improved in many ways for the 19% of us who have disabilities because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is still a work in progress and involves much negotiating for access in many situations. But, perhaps, you’re someone who’s benefitted over the years from some of the following accommodations:


Counting Down to Graduation: January, Understanding Your Options

Question: What are your personal goals? Can you believe it is 2015? I can’t. To be honest, I thought this year would never come, but I’m glad it did. Like many other students out there, I am graduating in just a few short months, and I couldn’t be happier! Whether you have a plan set in stone or don’t quite know what you are doing, graduation is an exciting and stressful time. Many students will ask themselves, “What am I supposed to do next?” It is important to weigh your options. Although there are many to consider, the most common options are either finding a job or furthering your education. By now, you


National Mentoring Month: Importance of Mentors for Those Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

AFB CareerConnect(r) applauds a telling survey recently conducted by the National Mentoring Partnership which, according to their report, finds that one in three young people reach adulthood without ever receiving help or support from a mentor. This compelling report, The Mentoring Effect, "is the first-ever nationally representative survey of young people on the topic of both informal and formal mentoring.” Simply put, it finds that “youth with mentors experience [greater] significant positive outcomes” than those who do not receive mentoring. Being that CareerConnect, the career education and


Job Carving: Creating a Job for a Person Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired with Multiple Disabilities

A person who is blind or visually impaired with multiple disabilities has…wait, hold up. I'm not fond of the term "multiple disabilities". People should not be defined by any "dis-" or any list of inabilities, but should instead be defined by who they are and secondarily by what they do offer the world. To my knowledge a better term for "multiple disabilities" does not exist, but know that I am not looking through the lens of "people with multiple inabilities", but people with unique circumstances and non-standard abilities. Ok, let's continue. People who are blind or visually impaired with multiple disabilities,


Cooking Without Looking Boot Camp for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

You’ve been reading on AFB CareerConnect about the Cooking Without Looking TV Show; now you have an opportunity to attend the Cooking Without Looking Boot Camp in conjunction with the Florida International University (FIU) School of Hospitality. This course will be taught by Cooking Without Looking’s blind chef, Don White. This is an FIU course, which includes specialized tips and


Receiving Vision Rehabilitation Services When You Live in a Rural Community for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Desiring the content of the AFB CareerConnect blog to be relevant and useful, I recently asked a group of adults with visual impairments for their career-related concerns and questions. The first question that caught my attention was from Andrew; "How can a person who is blind or visually impaired get training if there is no local support?" This is an important question, Andrew. Please hear my response that is intended for all people who are blind or visually impaired living in rural communities First, don't assume there are no vision rehabilitation services in your area. When I worked as a transition specialist with the


Losing Vision and the Fear of Losing Work As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

My dear friend has Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and is losing her vision. Today she received word that, due to blindness, she is losing her driver's license on January 5, 2015. She is very concerned about her future, particularly her future at work. Maybe hers is a story you know well and identify with. If so, my heart is saddened for your loss of sight. I can't fully comprehend it or understand it; I'd be lying if I said I did. However, I care. I care deeply. I have assembled information and resources to assist you in the process of transitioning and coping with vision loss.


Looking Back on Our 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect for Job Seekers and Workers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

If you didn't stay up with all of the 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect with tips and advice for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired, I wanted to take the time to provide you with a little ESPN Sports Center highlight reel of our own. Each day provided you with new tips, advice, and links to resources that could help with your preparation for employment or that next position. Let us know what you thought about the series and the posts. 12. On the Twelfth Day of AFB CareerConnect, we posted this post from Katy Lewis,


The Seventh Day of AFB CareerConnect: 7 Ways to Get Organized As a Worker Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

As we continue our 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect with our seventh day, I wanted to bring you some new tips and advice on staying organized. During this busy holiday season, it is easy to create clutter in your work space, get behind on projects, and become overwhelmed. Check out how these seven organizational tips can help increase productivity and reduce frustration at work and in life. 7. Keep on top of your filing system: Whether you are using an electronic folder system or a paper filing system, it is important to keep the folder titles straightforward. Common


The Eighth Day of AFB CareerConnect: 8 Thoughts and Considerations on Job Accommodations for Workers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

For the eighth day of AFB CareerConnect's 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect countdown of great tips and advice, I will be providing you with eight thoughts and considerations on employment accommodations for workers who are blind or visually impaired. As I travel around the United States providing workshops for youth and adults who are blind or visually impaired or professionals, this topic comes up a lot. So, here is a little holiday gift for you: Eight Thoughts and Considerations on Job Accommodations 8. Knowing your own accommodations or possible accommodations: The fact is you should have a good idea about your possible accommodations for work. You


The Eleventh Day of AFB CareerConnect: 11 Profiles of Successful People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

We continue the countdown of the 12 Days of AFB CareerConnect, like the 12 Days of Christmas, but with our CareerConnect spin on the countdown. Here is the eleventh day of AFB CareerConnect. Are you still unsure of what career is right for you? Check out these eleven popular real life stories about the professions of CareerConnect mentors! Maybe one of them will give you an itch to learn more. Just click on the job title and off you go! 11 Mentors Profiled on AFB CareerConnect 11.


Holiday Travel Ideas and Tips for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

After working diligently all year, it's quite refreshing to pause during the holiday season and enjoy a hard-earned vacation. Do you prefer the convenience of a cruise, the cost effectiveness of exploring a nearby city, or the enjoyment of visiting family? Whichever you prefer, review these holiday travel ideas and tips for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. If traveling solo or with other non-drivers, search for destinations that offer a variety of appealing experiences within walking distance, a phenomenal public transportation system, or affordable taxi rides. If the idea of traveling with a group is attractive and not off-putting, browse tour


The Gift-Giving Guide for a Career-Minded Recipient Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

'Tis the season for frosty weather, hot cocoa, and gift giving. Maybe you appreciate the frosty weather, adore the hot cocoa, but are anxious about shopping? Do you feel clueless as to what to purchase for your career-minded son or daughter, sibling, spouse, friend, neighbor, or colleague with a visual impairment? It's time to relax; I've done the thinking for you, which means you can spend more time sipping cocoa by the fireplace. Oh, one more thing. While the gift recipient does have a visual impairment, remember he or she is first a person. And people


The Exceptional Nurse Book Highlights Nurses with Disabilities and Visual Impairment

Exceptional nurses go out of their way to provide excellent care for their patients no matter the personal hurdles they must overcome. Whether that hurdle is a physical or mental disability, these nurses have found ways to conquer the odds and continue to provide the best care possible to those in need. In Donna Carol Maheady’s new book, The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities, readers learn of nurses who overcame


Providing "Mad Props," Resources, and Thanks to Our Veterans on Veterans Day

The American Foundation for the Blind and AFB CareerConnect appreciate the sacrifice of our veterans on this day and each day. We wanted to take the time to say thank you and let you know about some veteran specific information. AFB's VisionAware offers a great resource for veterans and their families, as veterans could lose vision later in life or experience vision loss from incidents during military action. Our family of websites offers resources and these VisionAware resources developed around the adjustment


A Salute to Our CareerConnect Mentors: Disability Mentoring Day

I am currently in Northern California, spreading the message of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). I have a meeting with staff from Lighthouse for the Blind-San Francisco this week, and I am speaking at the California School for the Blind, Cupertino schools, and San Francisco State University. As I make the rounds out here, I am also making time to connect with CareerConnect mentors, AFB contacts, and other impressive people who are blind or visually impaired. I am always preaching the importance of having mentors who are blind or visually impaired and mentors who are not. I want to take this time to salute the CareerConnect mentors who volunteer to respond to queries, questions, and surveys for our program. I know for a fact that they are making a


Celebrating White Cane Safety Day As an Individual Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

White Cane Safety Day or White Cane Day is celebrated on October 15, and I felt this was the perfect time to tell you about traveling as a person who is blind of visually impaired. I have a white cane nicknamed "Slim" that travels with me everywhere. It isn't always easy, but I wouldn't do it any other way at this point in time. I have been a cane traveler for a number of years now, and it isn't always perfect. I choose to use a heavier and more durable white cane as I travel a lot and my cane takes a beating. Recently, I was traveling through Grand Central Station in New York City when I hit something with my cane. There was


The 10th Annual Samuel N. Hecsh Window on the Working World of Law Feature Story: Jack Chen, Google Patent Attorney & Legally Blind

AFB CareerConnect's latest Our Stories piece is part of the Samuel N. Hecsh Window on the Working World of Law. Each year, a feature is done on an outstanding mentor and individual who is blind or visually impaired and working in the field of law. CareerConnect's Our Stories section highlights the success stories of those who are excelling in their professions. The section is packed with over a hundred pieces and organized for ease of navigation so you can learn about the employment paths and life adventures of these outstanding individuals. Having been an inventor at heart since childhood,


Look Out Davey Crockett, AFB's Crew Is Heading to San Antonio, TX for the 2014 AER International Conference

The Alamo and the Spurs should watch out, as AFB is all set to take San Antonio by storm. I am packing up and preparing for my presentations at the 2014 AER International Conference in San Antonio, Texas. A number of AFB staff will be rolling out to the conference. I am looking forward to the networking, resources, and visiting with friends. I hope to see Amy Guerette (FSU), Dave Henzy (UTSA), Pat Leader (AER), Mickey Damelio (FSU), Sandra Lewis (FSU), Kitty Greeley (FSU), Annie Gallagher (Vanda), my NJ friends (Pura), the AFB Family, the AER staff, my friends from around the United States, and all of you!


Brandon Solomon, Young Man Who Is Legally Blind, Is Working It Out at a Friendly's Restaurant

During my travels for the AFB Teen Employment Workshop Series, I have the opportunity to meet with a lot of young people and the professionals who work with them. I provided a workshop at the Maryland School for the Blind (MSB) in Baltimore during the month of April. The workshops are just one of the ways that AFB and the CareerConnect web program make a large impact around the United States.


Even Nursing Careers Can Be Adjusted to Vision Loss

As a former school nurse I was very excited to see CareerConnect Mentor, Audrey Demmitt, post her story about working as a nurse with vision loss on AFBs VisionAware. Although it has been many years and a career change later, by reading Audrey's experiences I was easily able to relive my own experiences of adjusting my career to vision loss through hers. For the longest time I thought I must be


Introducing Dr. Jamie O'Mally from MSU's NRTC on Blindness & Low Vision

I feel lucky to have the opportunity to introduce a friend and colleague from a partner organization of AFB. Dr. Jamie O'Mally from Mississippi State University's National Research & Training Center (NRTC) on Blindness and Low Vision, has been a big supporter of AFB CareerConnect, and we feel the same way about their program and staff. They continue to research, identify, and work to create tools to address the issues specific to employment and persons who are blind or visually impaired. I cannot stress


Newly Reorganized “Our Stories” Section Has Launched: Find Success Stories by Career Cluster and More!

Hello CareerConnect Friends, AFB CareerConnect has been busily preparing to launch the reorganized "Our Stories" section. The section has always been packed with tons of great success stories about mentors and other persons who are blind or visually impaired. Now, you will be able to find stories of interest by career field and other categories from the right-side navigation. If you have contacted CareerConnect, you probably know me, Detra Bannister. I am the Employment Specialist within CareerConnect. I have been writing the "Our Stories"