Quick tips, Do's & Don'ts and How to Help
When speaking with someone who is blind…
- DO identify yourself, especially when entering a room. Don’t say, “do you know who this is?”
- DO speak directly to the individual. Do not speak through a companion.
- DO give specific directions like “the desk is five feet to your right” as opposed to saying “the desk is over there.”
- DO give a clear word picture when describing things to an individual with sight loss. Include details such as color, texture, shape and landmarks.
- DO use their name when addressing them. This lets them know you are speaking to them, and not someone else in the room.
- DON’T shout when you speak unless you are asked to speak loudly. Most people who have vision loss hear within standard ranges.
- DON’T be afraid to use words like “blind”, “look”, “watch” or “see.” There are often social connotations to these words that are applicable to all individuals regardless of visual acuity.
- DO introduce yourself and ask the person if assistance is needed.
- DO provide assistance if it is requested and you are comfortable / able to do so.
- DO offer to find another individual if you are unable or uncomfortable with assisting in the manner that a person has requested.
- DO respect the wishes of the person who is blind. DON’T insist upon trying to help if your offer of assistance is declined.
If you believe assistance is needed, it is always important to ask. Never assume that help is required, unless you have confirmed with an individual or they have requested assistance. It is always okay to ask if someone would like assistance, but be prepared that sometimes they may politely decline.
One way to assist a person who is blind is through human guide. Human guide is when one individual offers to guide a person without vision from one point to another. If you are asked, or volunteer, to offer human guide consider the following tips:
Encountering a Guide Dog while someone is out and about may be a really exciting thing, particularly if Guide Dogs are not commonly seen working in your area. While this may be something that you are enthusiastic about, there are a few tips to remember to make sure the dog is able to do their job of keeping their handler safe: