Key Social Etiquettes for Interacting With Visually Impaired People

Worldwide, 285 million people of all ages are visually impaired and of whom 39 million people are blind. Near or distance vision impairment is occurred due to uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts. It is not that every time they need our help, but it is always good that we interact with them. This interaction can make them feel good, and we can help them in a better way whenever they need it. 

Here are the top ten etiquettes to keep in mind while interacting with visually impaired people.

Greet first, introduce later

Just like normal people, you can start with “hello” or “hi” and then introduce yourself to blind people. They cannot recognize you from voice and therefore, every time you meet them, you should say your name after greeting them. 

Ask first, help later

First, you need to find out whether they need any assistance before helping them. There is no need to hold their hand without their permission and start helping. 

Never use here and there

There is no point in using ‘here’ and ‘there’ or ‘this’ and ‘that’ in front of visually impaired people, right? Therefore, you should remain specific with what you want them to do. It is also beneficial for them to lead their hand to the backrest of the chair so that they can comfortably sit. 

Above your elbow

When a blind or visually impaired person is walking with you, simply let them hold the area above your elbow because it is easy to follow where you are taking them. They may walk behind you by half a foot to gauge where to go. 

Also Read- Bursting Myths and Misconceptions About Visually Impaired People

Stay alert near the staircase

Always give proper instruction when you are near the staircase with them. It is necessary to say whether they have to ascend or descend the stairs. 

Close cupboards and drawers

It is always necessary to close cupboards and drawers completely. Visually impaired or blind people may not realize at times that cupboards are open, and they may stumble accidentally. 

Wall clock comparison

How about describing every item in their meal plate as per the wall clock position? For example, you can say, “there is a salad in the 10 O’clock position.” This can help them find the item they wish to pick while eating. 

What’s around

You can be their eyes and describe the surroundings. They also like to know what’s around so that they can remain familiar with the place. 

Inform them always

Whether you are leaving or taking any of their belongings, just inform them so that they do not think something is missing. It is also possible that you may have left the place, and they continue talking to you. This is embarrassing, and you should always avoid this situation. 

Keep interacting

Irrespective of the topics on which they would like to talk, you should keep interacting with them. As a leading NGO in India for blind people, we have experienced that blind or visually impaired people are no different from anyone. They are open to talk about the weather, films, sports, and anything under the sky. Chances are high that you may find a good friend in them over the period. So, continue interacting with them. 

 eNetra Foundation is an NGO for visually impaired people and committed to improving the lives of blind and visually impaired people. Our dedicated volunteers and generous donors always give us the strength to reach more visually impaired people across the nation. Join our mission to serve blind people by combining assistive technology and human effort. 


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