Guiding and Communication
Tips for when offering assistance and guiding
Never assume that a person with vision impairment will need or want help as they are all capable and independent. A good way of offering assistance is simply to ask "do you need help?" Good communication is vital with people who have vision impairment, as they are very independent and may not need assistance. Keep these in mind:
- If offering assistance, introduce yourself so the person knows who you are
- Speak as you normally would, there is no reason to raise your voice or slow your speech
- Don't feel uncomfortable using words like "look" and "see."
- Always address the person directly, never through a third person
- Let the person know when you are leaving them
- Don't be offended if the person declines your offer of assistance
Here are some tips that can help you guide a person with impaired vision:
- Make contact with the person by touching the back of the person's hand with the back of your hand
- Keep your arm relaxed at your side. The person being guided will stand beside you and hold your arm just above the elbow
- Tell the person when you are approaching narrow spaces, doors, stairs and kerbs. Where necessary, the person can walk behind you before you approach the door way or other narrow space.
- Offer accurate directions, for example, "left" and "right," or "east" and "west." Remember that "over there" does not mean anything to a person who can not see.
- When getting in to a car, ask the person if they would like you to place their hand on the door handle. You should also check if they want you to close the car door