When you meet a person who is blind ...

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When you meet a person who is blind ...

Post by Mandy2 » Sun Jan 18, 2004 1:42 pm

Hey there,

I'd like to share something with you.
It's a little list called "Courtesy rules when you meet a person who is blind".
Just in case you're wondering why I wanna show you this ... I've a few friends who happen to be blind. Sometimes when we talk about our days at work, university or whatever happened in our lives, my friends tell me about some awkward or negative experiences with sighted folks. "Negative" because some people treat others with a disability not very polite and they forget that they are normal people, just like you and I.


Courtesy rules when you meet a person who is blind

When you meet a blind person, don't be ill at ease.

~ Treat people who are blind or visually impaired as you would anyone else. They do the same things you do, but sometimes use different techniques.

~ You don't need to raise your voice. Shouting won't improve a person's vision. Don't address a person who is blind as if s/he were a child. Talk directly to them, not through their companion. Loss of sight is not loss of intellect.

~ When entering or leaving a room, identify yourself and be sure to mention when you are leaving. Address the person by name so they will know you are speaking to them. Introduce him/her to the others. Include children, and tell if there's a cat or dog.

~ If someone looks like they may need assistance, ask. They will tell you if they do. Do not "over-assist". If they are about to encounter a dangerous situation, voice your concerns in a calm and clear manner.

~ Pulling or steering a person is awkward and confusing. Avoid grabbing their arm or their dog's harness.

~ Ask "Would you like me to guide you?" Offering your elbow is an effective and dignified way to lead a person who is blind. Do not be afraid to identify yourself as an inexperienced sighted guide and ask the person for tips on how to improve. They'll probably keep a half-step behind, to anticipate curbs and steps.

~ If you leave them alone in an unfamiliar area, make sure it is near something they can touch--a wall, table, rail, etc. Being left out in empty space can be very uncomfortable.

~ Be sure to give useful directions. Phrases, such as "across the street" and "left at the next corner", are more helpful than vague descriptions like "over there."

~ Don't be afraid to use the words "see", "watch", "look". These are used in speech and their omission would be evident, making conversation unnatural and uncomfortable.

~ In a restaurant, give clear directions to available seats. Your offer to read the menu aloud may be appreciated, but you shouldn't assume that they would not want to order their own food.

~ When the food arrives, ask if they would like to know what is on their plate. You can describe the location of food items by using clock position: Your coffee is at 3 o'clock; the sugar is at 1 o'clock. And a person who is blind will not have trouble with ordinary table skills.

~ Leave doors all the way open or all the way closed; half-open doors or cupboards are dangerous. Don't rearrange furniture or personal belongings without letting them know.

~ Don't talk about the "wonderful compensations" of blindness. Their sense of smell, touch or hearing did not improve when they became blind. They rely on them more and therefore, may get more information through these senses than you do -- that's all.

There is no 'sixth sense' to enable visually impaired people to perform such feats as getting on the right bus or preparing a meal without sight. It takes common sense and practice.

Neither are visually impaired people more (or less!) clever, cheerful, outgoing, generous, creative or musical than people with sight. If they do happen to have any of these traits or talents, in the words of David Scott Blackhall, (a visually impaired broadcaster) 'it is because they are people, not because they are blind'.

~ If a blind person is your houseguest, show them the bathroom, closet, dresser, window - the light switch, too. They might like to know wether the lights are on.

~ They'll discuss blindness with you if you're curious, but it's an old story to them. They have as many other interests as you do. So just be sensitive when questioning people about their blindness. This is personal information and boundaries should be respected.

~ Don't think of them as just a blind person. S/he is just a person who happens to be blind.

~ As tempting as it may be to pet a guide dog, remember that this dog is responsible for leading someone who cannot see. The dog should never be distracted from that duty. A person's safety may depend on their dog's alertness and concentration.

They are just normal people like everyone else and my purpose for posting this, is to improve understanding between sighted and blind / visually impaired people and to correct misconceptions.

Have a nice Sunday!

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Post by Ms.A.Z » Tue Mar 23, 2004 12:04 pm

hi mandy
i just wanted to say that ur messg was really nice and sweet ..yes we all should treat blind and disable people like normal onces .....they deserve to live normal life like any normal person..but not every one understand that ........well i guess thats all
byee ms a.z :wink:

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Post by Mandy2 » Tue Mar 23, 2004 12:54 pm

ms-a.z wrote:we all should treat blind and disable people like normal onces .....
You are right. I second that :-)

One of the problems that blind people encounter is, that there are unfortunately public attitudes and misconceptions about blindness which go to the very roots of our culture and permeate every aspect of social behavior and thinking. The word "blind" carries with it connotations of inferiority and helplessness. This goes back to primitive times when existence was at an extremely elemental level. Eyesight and the power to see were equated with light, and light meant security and safety. Blindness was equated with darkness, and darkness meant danger.
Nowadays society and social values have changed. Theoretically, with proper training and opportunity, the average blind person can do the average job in the average place of business and do it as well as his sighted neighbour, as scientists, farmers, electricians, factory workers, and skilled technicians.
The real problem of blindness is not the blindness itself, not the acquisition of skills or techniques or competence. The real problem is the lack of understanding and the misconceptions which exist. As I said above, many things have changed, disabled people can use assistive technology, live a full and successful life, BUT even though techniques etc might have deleloped, primitive attitudes about blindness remain.
It's difficult to change public attitudes about blindness, if they are not willing to listen, learn and be open-minded.


Post by Guest » Thu Aug 26, 2004 6:12 am

Thanks Mandy. The info is really useful. By the way, let me tell you guys a story...
There was one time I was on a bus and I saw two people getting on the bus: one was a mid-aged lady and the other was a really pretty lady. She was pretty with bright, round eyes and a cute face; however, her face was so sad though. I got attracted with her beauty and I was wondering why she was that sad. I meant, you could kinda feel her sadness. Then my eyes met her eyes. I gave her a big smile :D since I didn't wanna be rude. But....she was just staring at me. No smile! Nothing! I was disappointed of her action and I was hurt because she seemed to be rude. So, I turned away minding my own business. Although I had done that, I still felt a little bit uncomfortable. You know, when someone is staring at you, you'll feel really uncomfortable. Well, I was feeling really uncomfortable, so I looked around to see who was looking at me. There she was... she was the one who was staring at me. I got really irritated. I was thinking, "what's wrong with her? Why does she keep staring at me like that? She didn't smile back at me and now she's staring at me? How rude!" While I was wandering with my thoughts about how rude she was, the bus stopped and they had to get off for their destination. She pulled out the folded walking stick for blind people when they were off the bus. I was so shocked! Then I got embarrassed because I didn't know she was blind. I felt so bad for critizing her at first.
It was my first and ever embarrassing with blind people. Now I try my best to help them as much as I can.

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Post by Dixie » Thu Aug 26, 2004 10:50 am

Don't worry, Len. I think we all have experienced something similar sometime.

By the way, I've got a friend who is blind, but nobody treats him differently than any other person. He's just one more of us. I'd feel bad treating a blind, deaf or whatever, person differently. We have to bear in mind that they are like us, not different.

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Post by manrat » Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:42 am

Dixie wrote: By the way, I've got a friend who is blind, but nobody treats him differently than any other person. He's just one more of us. I'd feel bad treating a blind, deaf or whatever, person differently. We have to bear in mind that they are like us, not different.
I wish everyone would think like that.

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