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Career Assessments – Inclusive for All

by Anu Pala

 

Career assessments are challenging to utilize for visually impaired and blind individuals, but they don’t have to be. I have accessed various career assessments both as a participant as well as a facilitator and am aware of the challenges, but also know that they can be accessible.

 

I recall utilizing the Choices assessment in high school. Having low vision at that time, I was able to get through it, but it was challenging as I had to select my answer by colouring in the little bubble on a score sheet. Not only did this process take longer than my fellow classmates, but the process strained my eyes as well.

 

Participating in assessments without vision presents its own set of challenges as the participant must rely on an assistant to read each question out loud. In this situation, the participant has to memorize the choices for each answer and try to be as authentic as possible. Not only can this be stressful for the client, but does not allow any privacy.

 

While participating in the career practitioner program at Simon Fraser University over two years ago, I was excited about learning how to administer various types of assessments, for I believe they offer the client a good starting point, especially if they have been out of the work force for some time and are researching a new career direction.

 

Various instruments were utilized in class including the Career Occupational Preference System (COPS), Career Ability Placement Survey (CAPS) and Career Orientation and Evaluation Survey (COPES), as well as Personality Dimensions, Self Directed Search (SDS) and Card Sorts. I worked through some of these tools with a friend, however, being a practical/hands-on learner, it was challenging to really understand the concepts.

 

In the Employ-Ability program at Neil Squire Society in Burnaby BC, we facilitate various online self assessments. In order for me to effectively deliver Personality Dimensions, my supervisor and I transcribed the cards into text.  Something as simple as this allows me to deliver this workshop confidently and effectively.

 

From a participant perspective as well as a facilitator perspective, having the ability to utilize accessible assessments in digital format allows the individual to work through them independently resulting in a more true and authentic experience.  Creating score sheets in Excel or another type of electronic calculation application would also enable the participant to fully participate.

 

It is important for us as career practitioners to be mindful of different learning styles and encourage the developers of assessments to create accessible tools that will empower all users.

 

Anu is a career practitioner and job developer with the Neil Squire Society.  She also operates her own consulting business, A-Nu Vision Consulting where she provides disability awareness training to the business and non-profit sector and teaches blind individuals how to utilize computers effectively and confidently with assistive technology. She can be reached at 604.473.9363 oranup@neilsquire.ca

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