April 22, 2010
  • When being the sighted guide, let the person who is blind or visually impaired hold your arm above the elbow; don’t push or pull.
  • Don’t point when giving directions; instead, use words like “right” or “left.”
  • Just because you can see a pedestrian doesn’t mean that the pedestrian can see you.
  • If you are in a car and see a person who is visually impairment or blind standing at a corner, don’t yell out that it’s okay to cross the street; that person is waiting for a traffic cue.
  • People who are blind or visually impaired, though they may see something, may still use a cane; they may not be able to see well enough to rely on their vision alone.
  • When approaching a person with a guide dog, always approach from the right. Never, never pat the dog while it’s in the harness.
  • State law allows guide dogs to accompany their owners anywhere.
  • Usually the first few seats on a bus or subway are for the people who are elderly and/or physically disabled. Be considerate of their needs.
  • In a restaurant setting, talk to the person who is blind or visually impaired, not through him or her. Many restaurants now have menus written in Braille.
  • Attention employers: Don’t let blindness or any other physical limitation automatically disqualify an applicant for a job. Often simple adaptations can be made to allow them to work competently.
  • To store clerks and others dealing with the public: Treat the person who is blind or visually impaired with the simple dignity each of us deserves, and be ready and willing to help if someone asks.
  • Remember to treat a person who is blind or visually impaired as you would anyone else. People are people, blind or not.
  • Usually there is no need to speak loudly to people who are blind or visually impaired; in most cases their hearing is just fine!
  • Click here for information on Sighted Guide Techniques from the Braille Institute

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