Blindness Disability Awareness
We are committed to educating the community about vision impairment and the rights of people who are blind or vision impaired. Being aware of blindness and vision loss means making an effort to ensure everyone has access to facilities, services and support within the community, and understanding how to interact and communicate with people who are blind and vision impaired. When meeting a person who is blind or vision impaired it’s important to:
- Introduce yourself. Don’t expect a person who is blind or vision impaired to guess your name.
- Upon entering a room, say something to signal your presence. (for example, “Hello, it’s Jim”)
- When leaving the room inform the person quietly, so they are saved the embarrassment of talking to themselves.
- Don’t leave a person standing alone in the middle of a room, if you must leave, make sure they have contact with a table or lounge and knowledge of their position.
- Speak directly to the person and look at them as this directs your voice towards them.
- Don’t be afraid to use words like ‘see’, ‘sight’ or ‘look’ as these words are part of the English vocabulary and have a meaning for everyone.
- Don’t shout – being blind or having low vision does not indicate hearing loss or any other disability.
- Ask the person if they need assistance, don’t assume. Don’t be offended if your offer of help is declined.
- Always let a person take your arm. You can indicate by touching the back of your hand against the back of theirs. Don’t push or pull.
- Make sure their travel path is clear of objects and the person knows where they are going.
- Replace objects where the person who is blind or vision impaired has put them.
- Don’t leave doors ajar.
For more information on disability awareness visit the Disability Services Commission website.