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Community Education

Good Communication

Below we have outlined some essential tips for community education and adjustments for people who are vision impaired.

IMPORTANT: Remember to treat all people with a disability as a person first and consider their impairment second!

  • If you see someone who is vision impaired who looks like they need assistance, introduce yourself and ask how you may assist.
  • Never assume that a person with vision impairment will need or want your help as most are quite capable and independent. A good way of finding out is to ask “May I assist you?” If they need your assistance, they will usually also let you know how you can assist. But, if this is not clear, ask “How may I assist you?”
  • Always address the person directly and never through a third person.
  • Let any person who is vision impaired know that you have entered the room or joined the group. You may also like to ask if you can tell them who else is there. Let the person know what you are there to do such as delivering their meal or to provide medical treatment.
  • Always make it clear to whom you are talking by using the person’s name, wherever possible.
  • It is not necessary to raise your voice or slow your speech simply because someone has vision impairment. Speak as you would normally.
  • Feel comfortable in using the language that you usually would, including words such as “look” and “see”. Use your normal body language, the person may not see it but you will feel more comfortable.
  • Be cautious in the use of sarcastic humour and making inappropriate gestures. You never know if a person with vision impairment has enough functional vision to see your body language and facial expressions, or not. Non-verbal gestures that would usually help to indicate that you mean the opposite might not be seen or appropriate.
  • When giving directions, use clear descriptive language; for example platform 3 is the second platform on your right after the gate.
  • Always give directions from the person’s perspective – for example the door is about ten metres to your left. Remember to tell the person when you are leaving them.
  • When giving directions, use clear descriptive language; for example platform 3 is the second platform on your right after the gate.

Click Here To Download A Guiding & Communication brochure

Orientation and Mobility Instructor assisting a lady with vision impairment read the timetable at the bus stop

Making the environment safe for mobility

Community education assists with providing a safe environment is important for all people to move around in. This may include:

  • Keeping walkways clear and evenly lit.
  • Minimising trip hazards by removing rugs and cords from floors
  • Using visual contrast on items such as doors, handles, handrails and step nosings to assist with locating them.

Orientation and Mobility instructor assisting a vision impaired man whilst waiting at the bus stop.