The earlier that focused training begins for the elementary student to be successful at the secondary level, the longer the student has to develop the independence and vocational skills needed later. Teaching and learning activities directed at promoting career awareness and development also advance self-determination and the child’s self-awareness. The ability to practice learning experiences aimed at career awareness reflects a necessary component of an effective approach to transition-focused education. Research has provided a base for guiding such practice in the areas of career awareness, career exploration, and career experiences, with awareness and exploration activities beginning in the elementary years and then opportunities for exploration and work experiences increase with age.
Children need to observe and learn from individuals with disabilities who are working and have been successful in employment and their careers. Creating a Career Day and having some individuals with disabilities participate is one way of exposing the elementary child to what is available to them and how to cope with a disability on the job. Books with characters who have disabilities is another way to help students with and without disabilities learn about the knowledge and skills of individuals with disabilities. It is important for children to learn about the diversity of jobs that people with disabilities perform.