How to Communicate with Someone who is Blind

  • Don’t feel overly conscious or obsess about being politically correct when talking to someone who is blind.
  • People who are blind are generally not offended by words like “see,” “look,” and “watch” in everyday conversation.
  • There’s also no need to avoid using the words “blind” or “visually impaired”. Don’t tip-toe around it.
  • Whenever possible, try to use “people first” language, such as “people who are blind” rather than “blind people” or “the blind”.
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to use descriptive language, such as making reference to colors, patterns, designs and shapes.
  • Don’t speak in an exaggeratedly loud voice or talk down to a person who is blind.
  • Direct questions or comments directly to the person who is blind or visually impaired, not to someone they are with.
  • Avoid pointing to objects or people; instead, verbalize by saying, “It’s on your left.”
  • Identify yourself when someone who is blind or visually impaired enters a room or when you are approaching the person. For example, say, “Hi, Joe. It’s Emily.”
  • If you’re in a group, try to address a person who is visually impaired by name so that he or she knows who you’re talking to.
  • Introduce a blind person to other people in the room, such as in a meeting or at a lunch table.
  • When leaving a room, it’s courteous to let a blind person know that you are leaving.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a person if he or she needs help; if the answer is no, respect his or her wishes.
  • People who are blind don’t have “superhuman” senses of hearing, touch or smell; they’ve simply learned to get more information from these other senses because they rely on them more.
  • People who are blind probably don’t want your pity, but chances are, they’d like to feel like a part of the team at their job just like anybody else. Don’t be afraid to make the first move.

Via The Chicago Lighthouse