When Meeting a Person With a Vision Impairment
Use his name so he will know you are speaking to him. Introduce anyone
else who may be with you.
Always speak directly to him, not through his companion or guide.
Don't push, poke or shove; ask if help is needed. He may wish to take your
arm when traveling or may only need directions.
Remember that a dog guide is a working dog. Don't divert the dog's attention;
its master's safety depends on its alertness.
When showing him to a chair, put his hand on the back of the chair, he
will seat himself. If leaving the room, please let him know.
Don't use hand signals. People with visual impairments will probably not see
waving or pointing hands.
When helping him into a car, guide his hand to the door, he will do the rest.
When dining, ask if he needs help. If so describe the location of the place
setting and food on the plate according to the clock face: meat at 12 o'clock,
potato at 6, etc. At a restaurant, offer to read the menu.
As your house guest, show him the: guest room, furniture, light switches,
electrical outlets, bathroom and kitchen. Hazards such as open staircases
and glass doors should be pointed out
Don't leave cabinet, or other doors partially open. This can be unsafe
and cause accidents.
When speaking to him don't omit words like, "See" or "Look"... People with
visual impairments are not offended by these words. Words like these are
part of normal conversation. Who wants to be asked if they have heard any
good movies lately?
He may or may not wish to discuss blindness issues with you. Please respect
his privacy. Remember that his disability is only one feature of his
personality. He is an individual with interests and needs similar to your
Please allow him to be independent; he has worked hard to develop his
other senses to compensate for his vision loss.
The Law (USA)
Drivers must yield the right of way when they see a person using a white
cane or guide dog.
Only Legally Blind people may carry white canes.
Blind people can bring there certified guide dogs (in harness) into all
public places including: grocery stores, restaurants and hospitals.
Landlords and innkeepers cannot refuse a blind person lodging because he
uses a guide dog. Guide dogs are not pets.
The Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protections to blind people
similar to those given to people based on their race, color, sex, national
origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals
with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation,
State and local government services, and telecommunications.