A good video on how to guide a person who is blind

When it comes to walking a person who is blind or who has low vision safely to their destination, you need a certain set of skills. But help is often impromptu, with a “sighted guide” or “human guide” lending a hand, so to speak, in the moment, leaving it to the person who is being guided to provide quick instruction as needed.

Familiarity and common sense are often all that is necessary for sighted guide assistance to work just fine. That said, a little instruction can go a long way toward improving this particular skill set. This is especially true when vision loss isn’t the only factor to consider.

The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services reports that one in four people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities also have some level of vision loss. They’ve released a video called “Let’s Walk Together” that demonstrates sighted guide techniques for assisting a person with both intellectual and visual disabilities.

From their website:

This collaborative video with DDS shows how human guide, also known as sighted guide, can be used by individuals with visual impairment, legal blindness, or deaf blindness in a variety of everyday situations including walking through doorways, on stairs, and safely getting into or out of a car and van. This video also addresses the unique needs of individuals with vision loss who use walkers or gait belts.

I think anyone working in the field of disability services or who has a family member with a disability can benefit from this instructional video. The techniques taught are solid. To my ears, the tone of the interaction between sighted guide and person needing assistance occasionally crosses the line between nice and patronizing, but it is all done in a respectful and professional manner. Give it a try!


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