As a teacher of the deaf, you are often placed in a position of advising your students about their post-school options. In some ways, this is no different to any other student; however, anecdotal evidence indicates that you are probably placed in this position more frequently because careers teachers not only cannot communicate directly with a deaf student, but they often don’t know how to address the career options of deaf students. Frequently, careers teachers hold stereotypical misconceptions of what a deaf person can and cannot do in employment and so the student will often come back to you, a person with whom they can communicate, to identify options for their future.
It becomes important then to know the best places to refer a deaf student for careers and employment advice. By contacting employment agencies that specialise in the provision of services to deaf people, you are giving your student the best opportunity of ensuring that appropriate careers advice is provided, which will hopefully result in the student making a choice that best suits their needs, aptitudes and desires. This is important because not only is it best for the student to succeed in their post-secondary education and attain employment in their field of qualification as an outcome, it also makes the best use of limited resources. If a student commences one course, only to find part way through that it is not for them for whatever reason, the funds expended supporting them have been for naught. As well, it can negatively impact on the student’s self-esteem and they can potentially see themselves as failing.
Following are links to some of the employment agencies experienced in working with deaf people:
- Sign On Employment at Deaf Children Australia
- SensWide Services at Vicdeaf
- Employment Focus, Melbourne eastern suburbs
- WorkSupply at WCIG, Footscray
Another way that you can support your deaf student is to make certain that once they have a chosen career path, they are encouraged to visit various institutions’ “Open Day” to allow them to interact with teaching staff in their field of interest. Additionally, supporting them to make contact with the Disability Liaison Officer at the student’s chosen institution as soon as possible as it will be this person who will be responsible for organising the support services that your student requires. Finally, encourage them to have a look at the Students section of this website to help them start to think about how their tertiary educational experience will differ from their schooling to date. This transition is an enormous one for all students, but deaf students can find it especially challenging.