By Randy Pierce
The New Hampshire Association for the Blind provides a useful feature called “Tip Tuesday” on their Facebook page . This past week’s tip reminded me how well they address some simple suggestions for interacting with and assisting blind or visually impaired people. I check in with them every Tuesday and often share their message in the hopes of spreading the word further. This week’s tip I found particularly share-worthy:
Tip Tuesday: When meeting a person who is visually impaired or blind, introduce yourself by name, speak directly and clearly in a natural conversational tone and speed and always announce your departure from a room or ending to a conversation.
It’s such a simple thing to reinforce your arrival with a name to help avoid the embarrassment that voice-guessing can cause for either or both of us. Similarly, I cannot reasonably count how very many times I’ve carried on a conversation long after a person has departed without my knowing. Frequently a new person has arrived to let me know the error of my ways, which is only slightly more disheartening than my ending my discussion with “and by the silence I’m guessing you’ve already left and I’ve been talking to myself for the last few minutes…”
All of their tips are great points of consideration. Each visually impaired person may have slightly different preferences, but the rules of thumb NHAB shares will generally make for smoother interactions until you learn what works best for individual situations. So my thanks to NHAB for yet another great service! I hope that those of you on social media will visit their page and add them to your connections.