It would take a sensitive person to understand the world of the vision impaired.
Next time you meet a vision impaired person then take these tips as guide to better communicate with them.
- Use her name so he will know you are speaking to him. Introduce anyone else who may be with you.
- Always speak directly to her, not through her companion or guide.
- Don’t push, poke or shove; ask if help is needed. She may wish to take your arm when traveling or may only need directions.
- Remember that a dog guide is a working dog. Don’t divert the dog’s attention; its master’s safety depends on its alertness.
- When showing her to a chair, put her hand on the back of the chair, she will seat herself. If leaving the room, please let her know.
- Don’t use hand signals. People with visual impairments will probably not see waving or pointing hands.
- When helping her into a car, guide her hand to the door, she will do the rest.
- When dining, ask if she needs help. If so describe the location of the place setting and food on the plate according to the clock face: meat at 12 o’clock, potato at 6, etc.
- At a restaurant, offer to read the menu.
- As your house guest, show her the: guest room, furniture, light switches, electrical outlets, bathroom and kitchen. Hazards such as open staircases and glass doors should be pointed out.
- Don’t leave cabinet, or other doors partially open. This can be unsafe and cause accidents.
- When speaking to her don’t omit words like, “See” or “Look”… People with visual impairments are not offended by these words. Words like these are part of normal conversation. Who wants to be asked if they have heard any good movies lately?
- She may or may not wish to discuss blindness issues with you. Please respect her privacy. Remember that her disability is only one feature of her personality. She is an individual with interests and needs similar to your own.
- Please allow her to be independent; she has worked hard to develop her other senses to compensate for her vision loss.
THE LAW IN THE UNITED STATES
- Drivers must yield the right of way when they see a person using a white cane or guide dog.
- Only legally blind people may carry white canes.
- Blind people can bring their certified guide dogs (in harness) into all public places including: grocery stores, restaurants and hospitals.
- Landlords and innkeepers cannot refuse a blind person lodging because she uses a guide dog. Guide dogs are not pets.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protections to blind people similar to those given to people based on their race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.
Please, if you have anything you would like to share please write to us to spread the awareness and needs of the visually impaired people.