Projects Current Page Projects


Vocational and Social Integration of Visually Impaired Young Adults

Background and aims

Special institutions for blind and visually impaired pupils are currently confronted by particular challenges. They accompany the pupils' school integration in an advisory and supportive role; at the same time, they continue to provide individualised and separative forms of schooling that are tailored to the special needs of visually impaired children and young people. Currently, however, it has been observed that the later integration of visually impaired individuals becomes increasing problematic. The organisation of the transition from the obligatory school to the secondary level II, and the advice and support given to visually impaired young people in the secondary level II is therefore of the utmost importance.


This project is focused on the following central issues:

  1. What education and training appear to be important for later     vocational and social participation of visually impaired persons
  2. Are there any differences between separative and integrative schooling in the secondary level I?
  3. What advisory and supportive measures during the vocational consultancy and training have a positive influence on the vocational and social participation of visually impaired individuals?


During a two-stage survey, questions were put to visually impaired adults who were born between 1978 and 1983 and either educated in special institutions in German-speaking Switzerland, or accompanied by these institutions during integrative schooling. Owing to the relatively small number of visually impaired young people, it is hoped to make the survey exhaustive. It begins with a standardised telephone survey on the available special education and training, advisory and support offers on the secondary levels I and II, and on the current work and living conditions. The data thus acquired is quantitatively analysed. Subsequently, the data is extended and differentiated on the basis of secondary observations (statements about their own data) provided by approximately one quarter of the affected persons from the first survey. The newly acquired verbal data is subjected to a qualitative content analysis. The final phase of the project consists of syntheses of the results, conclusions and reports, and the generation of further questions.


The following development requirements can be deduced

Training provisions         

  • Training formats differ in their profiles: resources and development requirements compliment each other in their essential points
  • Integrative schooling: a need for development in disability-specific programmes (extended curriculum)
  • Concept of vocational training in special schools: a desire for development of the existing positive fundaments
  • Invalidity insurance funds office career counselling: quantitative and qualitative provisions fall well below the needs of those affected

Support provisions

  • Collaboration and exchange between all participating specialists: exists for the most part; a need for institutionalisation
  • Transitional continuity and accompaniment, even into gainful employment: desirable, necessity to be demonstrated
  • Flexible technical support: exists for the most part; essential prerequisite during training and throughout working life

Competencies and Strategies

  • Social and personal competencies as the central prerequisite for societal participation: support programmes to be guaranteed
  • Appropriate coping strategies: necessary for dealing with disability-based obstacles in all areas of life
  • Disability-specific competencies and strategies as prerequisites for self-determined and independent living: there must exist the possibility to acquire these independently of the training environment

Professional and social integration

  • Relatively high level of professional integration when compared to other research programme results: great amount of personal commitment essential
  • Work: central sense and structure-generating factor
  • Social integration: a need for development and stability
  • Participation in recreational activities: restrictions depend upon the disability and context
  • Accessibility of public space (traffic, service packages, consumption): a need for development


  • Hofer, U.; Venetz, M. (2007). Förderung und Unterstützung sehbehinderter und blinder Kinder und Jugendlicher: Welche Noten erhalten ihre Sonderschulen. In: blind-sehbehindert , 2/2007, S.95-104.
  • Hofer, U.; Venetz, M. (2007). Förderung und Unterstützung sehbehinderter und blinder Kinder und Jugendlicher. In: Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Heilpädagogik, 9/07, S.33-41.
  • Hofer, U.; Wohlgensinger, C. (2008). Übergangen werden beim Übergang – Lässt sich dieses Risiko für Jugendliche mit einer Sehbehinderung schmälern? In: Häfeli, K. (Hrsg.). Berufliche Integration für Menschen mit Beeinträchtigungen – Luxus oder Notwendigkeit? Luzern: Edition SZH, S.51-67.
  • Hofer, U. (2008). Werden Sehgeschädigte auf ihr Arbeitsleben vorbereitet? In: Panorama. Die Fachzeitschrift für Berufsberatung, Berufsbildung und Arbeitsmarkt, 2/08, S.17-19.
  • Hofer, U. & Wohlgensinger, C. (2009). Bewältigen statt überwältigt werden. Jugendliche und junge Erwachsene mit einer Sehbehinderung bei den Übergängen in Ausbildungs- und Erwerbsleben. blind-sehbehindert , 129(4), S. 248-259.


Interested on the final report: ursula.hofer[at] ursula.hofer



Project Management

Pädagogik für Sehbehinderte und Blinde Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik Zürich

Project team


Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at] zfe