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The objective of guiding techniques is to enable a person who has low vision to move through an environment safely and efficiently with the assistance of a sighted person – their guide.

While reading information can provide an insight into the process, sighted guide training can be provided on an individual basis to VisAbility’s clients with vision impairment and their carers. Training is also available to groups who wish to learn this skill via our professional development program.

When sighted guiding, guides should use the ‘Three A’s’:

Approach

  • Address the person
  • Identify yourself
  • State your role.

Ask

  • Always ask if assistance is needed
  • Find out what assistance they want.

Assist

  • Describe what you see around you – objects and where they are located; advise of any changes in layout of furniture, etc
  • Use precise, descriptive terms, for example, ‘the door is on your left’ rather than ‘the door is over there’
  • Look ahead and advise on upcoming obstacles – at the foot level, head height and to the side

Tips on Technique:

  • Walk at a comfortable pace
  • The correct grip is important for comfort and safety
  • The correct stance is important for protection
  • Doorways – it is important to allow the person being guided to be in control of the door; they should be on the hinge side
  • Narrow spaces – advise the person that a narrow space is ahead
  • Stairs – stop at the first step and tell the person you are guiding whether the steps go up or down. Stop when you reach the end of the stairs and tell the person you are at the top or bottom
  • Seating – explain which way the chair is facing and where it is placed in relation to the rest of the room. Also explain which part of the chair you are touching
  • If leaving the person alone, leave them in contact with an object.