How to Act & Talk When You Encounter Someone with Vision Loss

New on our 2018 Infographic card, we are including etiquette information about what to do and say when interacting with people who are blind or visually impaired. We created this information to ensure greater education among the general public. This information is distributed to Lions Clubs, donors and individuals at outreach events. You can request a copy of the card from the Council by calling 608-255-1166 or find the text at WCBlind.org/media. Please pass cards along to those in your life who might benefit from such information. It can serve as a helpful tool for people when they interact with people who are blind or visually impaired and service dogs.

Ask First: “Would you like some help?” If yes, ask, “What is the best way I can help you right now?” If no, accept the person does not need help.

(left-right arrow sign) Provide clear and concise information. Use Right and Left instead of Here and There.

(dog icon) Do not pet or distract a service dog. Distracting them makes them less effective and can put their owners in danger.

(word bubble icon) Say “Hi!” People with low vision may not recognize your voice. Introduce yourself when you walk into a room.

(talking mouth icon) Speak normally. There is no need to increase the volume of your voice or change the tone of your voice.

Do not speak on someone’s behalf. Despite good intentions, speaking on behalf of anyone who is perfectly capable of speaking for themselves can be incredibly frustrating.

(group icon) Keep people involved. Sighted people rely on visual cues when interacting with others. Allow people to be an equal participant in social settings by describing what happened visually.

(person handwritten graphic) Use person-first language. Blindness is a physical attribute, not a personality trait.

Sources: Perkins School for the Blind, Industries for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

Want more copies of this to share with coworkers and friends? Contact info@WCBlind.org or call 608-255-1166.

Logo and contact information on front or back of infographic.

Council accomplishments in 2018:

  • Educational presentations to 2,655 people
  • 301 in-home vision rehabilitation visits
  • 1443 volunteer hours
  • 1,392 store customers
  • 423 white canes provided free of charge
  • 88 Low Vision Evaluations
  • 1,263 of gifts made our work possible
  • 75 of legislative visits

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