Receptionist Training: Visually Impaired People.


  • 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.

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