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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Parent participation in career planning for adolescents with visual impairments McConnell, John David


The purpose of this study was to investigate a program model in which parents and adolescents examine personal values, career decisions and plans. The subjects were visually impaired students enrolled in regular secondary school and their parents. Twenty volunteer adolescents with visual impairments and their parents from 18 school districts in the province of British Columbia participated in the study. The program consisted of four Partner’s Program (Cochran, 1985) booklets: a parent guideline manual, activity self-exploration exercises, career decisions framework, and a planning workbook designed to facilitate parent involvement in career development activities. Two special career reference publications which described a variety of occupations and necessary adaptations and technical devices designed for individuals with visual impairment were also included. These materials were presented in audio tape, large print and braille. Adolescent subjects and their parents were randomly assigned to two experimental groups. Each group received materials and were given five weeks to complete the program. The Career Decision Scale (Osipow, 1976), Parent Adolescent Communication Scale (Barnes & Olson, 1982), and Career Salience Scale (Greenhaus, 1971, 1977) were employed. All participants were interviewed following the program. A multivariate analysis of variance was computed, and the combined five dependent variables were significantly affected between groups upon completion of the program by the first group. The combined dependent variables were significantly affected again with the second group upon completion of the program. Examination of effect sizes for each dependent variable attributed the differences to gains in measures of career planning and career salience and a decline in career indecision. The effects on the measures of communication were inconclusive. The results indicated that students in both experimental groups confirmed their career choices and became more aware of personal career values. The subjects felt they were encouraged to plan and prepare for a career, explore options, and consider their visual disabilities. Career planning was deemed important by all participants. The importance of work and career were confirmed for participants. Students’ attitudes improved with confirmation of plans and career alternatives. The effects of the program in career development of adolescents with visual impairments and the importance of parent-student communication were positive. The comments of the parents suggested that they had acquired understanding of their child’s career choices.

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