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Respectful Engagement

When a person with a visual disability enters a room, introduce yourself and any others present. Be sure to let the person know if anyone enters or leaves the room. This provides a level of awareness and comfort, facilitating effective, empowered communication.

  • In large groups, don’t be afraid to tell the person who is talking. Be sure to point out when the conversation has ended, so the person isn’t left talking to someone who isn’t available to listen.
  • If you are acting as a guide for a person, offer your arm rather than taking theirs. Most people will take your arm and follow about a step behind. Warn the person about any elevation changes or obstacles.
  • Before taking the initiative, always ask if the person wants help. Similarly, always ask before touching any adaptive equipment, including a cane, magnifying implement, or service animal.
  • When asked to help with navigation, use distance and directional words, i.e., “there is a chair at 3 o’clock and about 2 steps away”. Don’t be afraid to use visual words and descriptions, including the words “look,” “see,” and descriptive words such as color and shape.  Descriptions can be challenging, but fun—and are often appreciated.