Social Etiquettes for interacting with Visually Impaired
Have you ever met a person who is blind and was left wondering how you could approach them to guide or simply interact with them? Here are 10 things to keep in mind when you are around them next time!
1. Greet them and introduce yourself!
Say “Hello” or “Hi”…. Greet them like you greet any other person. But remember to introduce yourself, otherwise they may not be able to figure out who you are. Unlike faces, voices can be difficult to distinct. Unless you sound like Amitabh Bachchan or Christopher Lee, don’t expect them to recognize your voice if you had met them earlier
2. Don’t go to help them, ask them first if they need assistance!
In order to help them, many have a habit of grabbing hold of their hand without their permission. That’s a big no no! First find out if they need any assistance, if yes, then go ahead and guide them.
3. Not your wrist, not your palm, it’s just above your elbow
Are they walking with you? Then let them hold the area just above your elbow as it’s easy to follow where you are leading them. They may walk behind you by half a foot… don’t worry because that’s the way they gauge where to go.
4. Step up and step down the stairs
Make sure to tell them if they have to ascend or descend the stairs instead of just saying “there’s a staircase ahead of you”. This way they know whether to step up or step down.
5. Avoid using here or there, this or that!
Close your eyes and imagine someone was telling you “sit here, sit there” or this one and that one”. It’s difficult to comprehend where they are leading you. So make sure you say “move to your right or move forward, give me that book which is on the left side of the table”. Be specific with what you want them to do! You can also lead their hand to the backrest of a chair so that they know where to sit.
6. Close the cupboards and draws to avoid accidents!
Make sure you close the cupboards and drawers once you have finished your work. If not, people with blindness may not realize it and may stumble against it having an accident.
7. Their meal plate and wall clock!
The best way to help them out with what’s on the plate is by comparing it to a wall clock. For instance, you can say “there’s sauce in the 10 O clock position or there’s salad in 2 O clock position.
8. Missing person or a missing object… a nightmare!
Make sure you tell them when you are leaving while you are with them. They may think you are still there and continue talking to you……a missing person! Similarly, when you take any of their belongings, tell them you did because they may think it is missing!
9. Give them a sense of what’s around
Be their eyes and try and describe to them what’s around. They do like to know how their surroundings look and that will surely make them familiar to the place
10. Interact with them!
Don’t worry about what they would like to talk, just interact with them. They are no different from anyone. Talk about the weather, sports, films or simply anything under the sky. You will certainly not have a difficulty in doing so as you may find a good friend in them as time passes by.