- Always speak to a visually impaired person when you approach them and say clearly who you are.
- Ask them if they would like some help. Some people will reject help – that is their choice – please respect that.
- Talk naturally, giving clear verbal commentary of what is happening.
- Always give them your full attention. Talk to them and not at them.
- When guiding a visually impaired person, good practice recommends that you walk slightly in front allowing them to hold your arm. Do not propel or drag the person.
- Mention steps or other obstacles as they occur. State whether steps are going up or down.
- When offering a seat to a visually impaired person put their hand on the back of arm of the chair and tell them what you have done
- Remember not to use body gestures to communicate – they can’t see these.
- Do not leave a visually impaired person talking to an empty space. Tell them before you move away.
- When describing the location of an object, make reference to a clock face (e.g. “ten past four”).
- If you are giving directions, be aware of the usual reliance on non-verbal
- Try not to make assumptions. Many people with sight loss can see some things. Only about 10% of people registered blind have no perception of light. Therefore, do not make assumptions about what people can or cannot see.
- Some visually impaired people will have a guide dog. The dog is their eyes. Guide dogs should be allowed in public buildings.
- Do not allow people especially children to crowd the dog. It is important that the dog is left to do what it does best – take care of its owner.
- If the visually impaired person is waiting to see a doctor or nurse inform them that the patient has arrived and is in the waiting room. This will allow the doctor/nurse time to allow the patient to come to their room – or allow someone to assist them to their room if required.
- And most important – the visually impaired person has a disability – they have problems with their eyes – not their brain – please treat them with the greatest of respect.