How to help a visually impaired person. Some practical tips.


Following the success (hundreds of visits in a few days) of the post Ten tips to guiding a person with sight loss the community of the visually impaired asked to draw up a list of specific advice on how to help a person who may have restricted field of vision, reduced night vision and reduced visual acuity.
The following tips were gathered from discussions about Facebook groups. Some of the suggestions in the aforementioned link are also valid for the visually impaired, such as

1 – Always offer assistance first, not everyone will need help
8 – When approaching seating, tell the person where the seat is and guide their hand to the back and seat of the chair, so that they can sit down independently

There are some tips that are perhaps even more difficult to implement, because it is not clear when they are useful and what is the degree of low vision of the person.
Therefore, the basic rule always remains the same: ASK.
We try to report the most widespread and perhaps most useful tips, but if you have others, write them in the comments and we will add them.

  1. Do not grab, but offer your arm.
  2. To the question where is (object)? do not answer here or there, but provide precise spatial indications (eg, near the right leg of the table) or accompany the hand of the visually impaired to the object. This is also true when you pour a glass of water or wine: inform where you put it.If you point at something with your finger, make sure that the person can follow the direction, with slow movements and reduced gesticulations.
  3. Ask how he/she prefers the lighting of the environment.
  4. If you are walking in pairs keep distance and speed as regular as possible. If you stop, notify the visually impaired person.
  5. If you meet a visually impaired person you know, be the first to say Hi, informing them about who you are. Do not shout the name from a window or from the other side of the street. If you can’t move, provide directions to your position.
  6. Do not throw an object to grab on the fly. Don’t make the joke of touching his/her shoulder and hide yourself or other similar jokes.
  7. If possible, avoid buffet restaurants. Choose bright seats and if possible have the table and seat chosen. If the invitation to dinner is at home, try to use plates and tablecloth with a good contrast of colors.
  8. Report obstacles at ground level and head height, but know that often it is enough to perceive your body to feel the obstacles.
  9. Before giving a book as a gift, ask if it is welcome, or if he/she is able to read it.
  10. Describe the place where you have to meet so that the visually impaired has a mental map of the possible obstacles (glass doors, steps, …)
  11. Try to give confidence to the visually impaired person, helping them in their daily actions, without replacing them.

What do you think? There are all?
And if you put these little things into practice, the person will feel less disabled, less inadequate and more included.

4 comments from the community

  1. 12… casa, nel caso in cui l’ipovedente accenda le luci in una stanza in cui è anche se fuori c’è il sole, lasciatela accesa. Se l’accende non è perché vuole fare un dispetto…ma probabilmente gli torna utile.

  2. Se si è in gruppo, come in una classe, è bene chiamarsi sempre per nome e non rivolgersi con “Tu, lei, lui…” poiché un ipovedente non può cogliere il linguaggio non verbale (e come detto sopra, gestuale) e il movimento dello sguardo. Se bussano alla porta e chi entra non si presenta, è utile dire di chi si tratta “la bidella, la maestra…, un bambino…” . Se cade un oggetto, se la maestra si sposta in silenzio può essere utile informare il bambino e aiutarlo a comprendere ciò che succede.
    Se si deve compiere un’azione improvvisa e magari rumorosa (es. aprire una finestra, spostare un banco…) è meglio anticipare verbalmente ciò che si deve fare. Sono accorgimenti che spesso si danno per scontati pensando che un ipovedente li posso cogliere in modo autonomo.

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