Courtesy Rules of Blindness
Are you sometimes uncomfortable when around a blind person? Are you afraid you will say or do the wrong thing? Do you wonder what he or she may be thinking and feeling? The following ten points will help put everyone at ease, and can build great lifelong friendships.
- I’m an ordinary person, just blind. You don’t need to raise your voice or address me as if I were a child. Don’t ask my spouse if he wants cream in his coffee? | ask me.
- If I am walking with you, don’t grab my arm; let me take yours. I’ll keep a half-step behind, to anticipate curbs and steps.
- I want to know who’s in the room with me. Speak when you enter. Introduce me to the others. Include children, and tell me if there’s a cat or a dog. Guide my hand to a chair.
- The door to a room, a cabinet, or a car, left partially open, is a hazard to me.
- At dinner I will not have trouble with ordinary table skills.
- Don’t avoid words like “see.” I use them too. I’m always glad to see you.
- I don’t want pity. But don’t talk about the “wonderful compensations” of blindness. My sense of smell, touch, or hearing did not improve when I became blind. I rely on them more, and therefore may get more information through those senses than you do—that’s all.
- If I’m your houseguest, show me the bathroom, closet, dresser, window—the light switch too. I like to know whether the lights are on.
- I’ll discuss blindness with you if you’re curious, but it’s an old story to me. I have as many other interests as you do.
- Don’t think of me as just a blind person. I’m a person who happens to be blind.