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It’s hard to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life when you’re an adolescent. During this time, most children start to think about what they see themselves doing and what activities or school subjects they enjoy. At this stage, parents and adolescents should be open-minded and explore a variety of options. Going to camp, volunteering, or getting a summer job are all ways children can learn more about their skills and talents while gaining valuable life experiences. School counselors and Hemophilia Treatment Centers (HTCs) can provide additional support in guiding families toward the right path.

As adolescents become adults and enter the work force they will need to make decisions about disclosing their bleeding disorder to employers and coworkers. Individuals with bleeding disorders have rights in the work place. Parents and children should be aware of these rights so they understand that individuals with bleeding disorders should not be discriminated against.

This section of Next Step provides important information on:

Exploring Different Careers

Most preteens and teens are not ready to settle on a career choice, but it is a great time to start exploring different occupations. Since many children are only aware of the small number of occupations to which they are exposed, for example, teacher, doctor, and sales, and whatever it is their parents and relatives do, exploring occupations is a great way to get them to realize the many options available to them.

Here are some ways to help your children with career exploration:

  • Be open-minded
    • Just because your child has a bleeding disorder doesn't mean that some fields are totally off limits. Help your son or daughter brainstorm about alternative careers in the same field. Instead of being a professional basketball player, your child might become a sports reporter or physical therapist.
  • Network
    • Use your connections with colleagues, family, and friends to set up opportunities for your child to meet with people working in various occupations. Ask your child’s Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC), local hemophilia chapter, or friends to help find individuals with a bleeding disorder who have faced similar obstacles or restrictions as your child.
  • Encourage hobbies and activities
    • Some middle and high schools have career exploration clubs, such as Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), Future Business Leaders of America, or model United Nations, which may help your child learn about different careers. The school newspaper, cooking classes, photography club, and art classes may foster his or her budding talents.
  • Provide a chance to job shadow
    • Encourage your child to participate in activities such as, "Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work® Day." Held every year in April, this national event gives kids the chance to see what a parent or mentor does during the work day and shows them the value of education.
  • Attend supportive activities in your community
    • Some HTCs offer career exploration programs. These programs may include personality and career testing, information about various careers, and advice on making financial decisions.
  • Encourage your child to join leadership programs
    • Local hemophilia chapters and camps offer different types of teen leadership programs. These programs give teens the chance to get together throughout the year and participate in career-related activities. Teens can become Counselors in Training (CITs) at camp and develop important skills.
    • The National Hemophilia Foundation National Youth Leadership Institute (NYLI) is a great program for young adults, aged 18 to 25 years. It cultivates leadership and problem-solving skills. To be eligible apply to this program, young adults must demonstrate leadership skills in their communities.
    • For more information, go to National Youth Leadership Institute (NYLI).


  • Offers career information for younger kids. Choose your child's grade and then click on careers to see a list of possibilities.
  • Vocational Information Center. Provides a plethora of information on careers. Some of the resources are geared for adults, but they can be useful for children, as well.
  • What Do You Like? The US Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site links interests to career choices. Contains detailed information about a career, including what the job is like, the necessary skills to do that job, salary, outlook for the job's future, and more.

Finding the Right Career Match

Staying healthy and making good decisions can help keep your child’s career options open. As you both explore various careers, think about the physical demands that the type of work might place on the body. Help your child learn what medical restrictions might make it difficult to enter into certain fields. If your child is interested in a physically demanding field, think creatively about possible options.

There are more things your child can do than can’t do!


Telling others—particularly employers and coworkers—about a bleeding disorder is a very personal decision for anyone with a bleeding disorder.

Some people choose to disclose their condition so they receive the proper services and support. For instance, if they are working behind a counter and standing for a long time, they can request a chair or stool to reduce the risk of putting too much pressure on their joints. If employers know about the bleeding disorder, they can make seating available.

On the other hand, some people choose not to disclose their bleeding disorder. They might feel that their bleeding disorder does not affect their job performance, or they might be afraid that they will be treated differently or denied opportunities because of their disability.

Whether or not you and your child choose to disclose the bleeding disorder, remember your child’s rights. Under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, a civil rights law enacted by Congress, your child is protected from discrimination and harassment based on disability.

For more information on employment rights and opportunities, go to

Here are some employment rights:

  • Choosing when, or if, to disclose a bleeding disorder.
  • Have information about a bleeding disorder treated confidentially and with respect.
  • Be considered for a job based on merit, experience, and skill.
  • Request reasonable accommodations during the hiring process and on the job.
  • Be protected from discrimination during the job application process, hiring, training, pay, promotion, benefits, leave, and firing.
Disclosure conversation should focus on abilities, not your bleeding disorder.