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Some tips to assist a visually impaired person

January 3, 2019

Most of the times, a sighted person thinks that people who are visually impaired are unable to do things on their own. With advanced technology, nothing is impossible. There are numerous devices and mobile apps that reach out to visually impaired people making their day to day lives easier. They are able to study, work and even travel alone without any hassles.

In fact, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind when you offer help to visually impaired people. Offering them a lending land at the wrong time or situations can clearly make you look awkward and weird.

Bhagyasree is a blind person who works as a physiotherapist in Mumbai.

I feel it is an important topic to discuss about. I'am a regular traveller in trains and buses and I commute every day. The way people behave with a visually impaired person can get irritating at times. They discuss about us sitting right next to us, and we can hear every bit of what they say. Also being a girl, it becomes awkward for me to ask help from a guy. When a sighted people guides us, there can be lack of coordination and that definitely becomes challenging", Bhagyasree

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you assist a visually impaired person

  • Do not offer help unless asked- This goes without a say. You might come across a visually impaired person at a grocery store or at the road. But do not assume that they are waiting there for help. A visually impaired person is capable of doing things on their own without any help. Approach, ask and assist are key things to remember when you reach out to a visually impaired person. Help them only if they ask you for it.
  • Do not walk away- Most of us might have a friend or a colleague who is blind. Hence, we all make conversations easily with them. So when making a conversation, do not walk away expecting them to know it. In case you are walking away, do let them know. We all know it is embarrassing and frustrating to talk alone. All that you need to do is become a little sensitive to care about what the other person feels.
  • Address them by their names- When you have a casual conversation with a sighted person, you don't really have to pick their names. But with a visually impaired person, it is different. You must address them by their name so that they know you are talking to them. Even you do not want to be ignored by someone whom you are trying to make a conversation with. Let the visually impaired person know that you are in the room.
  • Do not relocate objects- For a visually impaired person, keeping furniture and other objects at their regular spots like homes and office is very important. So do not move anything unless you tell them. For example, if your visually impaired friend or colleague calls you to their home, understand that everything must be intact. Do not try and attempt to move a table or chair without their knowledge. For a visually impaired person, keeping everything at their regular places without being untouched is very important.

"I have noticed that many sighted people are willing to offer a helping hand to visually impaired people. I would definitely want someone to guide me if I'am going in the wrong track. So when I'am at a railway station, I ask someone for help in case I need it. Most of them guide you, but sometimes it is to the wrong place. They look no further, drop you there and just leave. It can get really annoying. I have understood that people are unaware about disabilities. There is a long way to go. In fact, some people are really rude when you ask them something", says Penav Mota, a blind law student.

These are some of the tips that can help you when you reach out to a visually impaired person. Foremost thing is that you need to understand a visually impaired person is smart and intelligent. So clearly, do not assume things for them!

ALSO READ: Going for a date with a blind person? Here are a few tips to make your day beautiful

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