Contact: Madison Welzbacher
STARKVILLE, Mississippi — The Mississippi State National Center for Blindness and Low Vision Research and Training has released 4to24, a free app designed to help blind and visually impaired youth find employment outcomes.
While young people with blindness or low vision are more likely to pursue post-secondary education, they are less likely to be employed as adults. Several factors are to blame such as the labor market itself and the prejudices of employers. However, another cause may be the lack of preparation of young people for employment. The NRTC tried to solve this problem by creating the 4to24 application.
The app is aimed at parents of blind or visually impaired youth between the ages of four and 24, as well as visually impaired youth between the ages of 16 and 24. It provides information on various topics based on user personalization with an emphasis on professional training and goals. Topics include various life skills such as travel, technology, social skills and independent living depending on user personalization. The app also offers activities to develop skills related to the topics, as well as additional links to online resources.
NRTC researcher Karla Antonelli said she believes the app will help parents see what their children can accomplish.
“For children who are blind or have low vision, we believe that one of the most important things is that their mother or father knows what their child is capable of,” said Antonelli. “The 4to24 app empowers parents with this knowledge so they can support and advocate for their children as they grow older.”
The app was developed by researchers and NRTC staff with input from focus groups, usability testing, and field testing. There is also a separate version of the app, aimed at parents of young deafblind people with additional disabilities, which has recently been field tested and is also now available. Its aim is to strengthen the communication and supports necessary for deafblind youth to participate in community life and employment to their full potential.
The 4to24 app is available for iPhone and Android and can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store, Google Play and on the web at 4to24.org.
For transition resources for blind / visually impaired youth, visit www.blind.msstate.edu/our-products/transition-resources.
For more information on how to download and navigate the app, visit www.ntac.blind.msstate.edu/consumers/4-24-app.
MSU is Mississippi’s premier university, available online at www.msstate.edu.