Current government guidelines requires us to stay two metres apart, this can cause huge challenges for blind and partially sighted people. A lot of changes that have been made in our towns and shops are of a visual nature: signs, arrows, one way walkways etc. We’re encouraging people to, be kind and offer assistance. Our advice is:
- Introduce yourself. When approaching someone with a visual impairment it’s best to say your name, and if you are representing a business or service to say where you are from. This helps give the individual some reassurance when you approach them.
- Ask if they need help. Before assisting make sure the individual needs help, it may well be they are fine and going about their day, check before offering any guidance.
- Describe the scene around them. If they accept your offer of assistance it’s worth asking how they prefer information to be described to them, you may want to ask them how much useful vision they have. Here are a few tips you may find useful:
- Keep it simple
- Describe hazards
- When describing steps, say whether they are going up or down
- Use a clock face to describe where objects are, the door is at 11 O’clock and the till is at 3 O’clock. NOTE: not everyone will be familiar with this, ask before proceeding.
- Walk alongside them. You may wish to offer to walk alongside the individual until they reach their destination or a familiar landmark, they might just need a littler reassurance they are in the right place. NOTE: When leaving, remember to make it clear you are going as they may not spot you walking off!
Free Webinar – Supporting people with sight loss during Covid-19
We’re offering a free webinar to anyone who is interested in finding out more about visual impairment and how they can best assist someone at this time. You can find out more by going to our Free Webinar page.
You can download our Assistance from a Distance poster below, share with friends, put up in your shop, cafe, community area etc and let us know, if your business is making an effort to support people with sight loss we’re happy to share this. You can contact us to find out more about our campaign and how you can help.