I have written before about how, for the blind, darkness is not the prison that sighted people imagine it to be. The sense of sight tends to overwhelm all the other senses but in its absence, they develop and use all their other senses in ways that enable them to navigate their way through the world incredibly well, usually without the need of assistance from sighted people.
Tommy Edison takes us through the process by which he finds his way in public buildings.
There is a point of etiquette that I was not clear about. I suspect that if they are in unfamiliar surroundings, there may be occasions where they might appreciate help from others. But how does one know when to offer assistance to a stranger without appearing to be presumptuous?
This website offers some guidance.
- Approach: if you suspect someone may need a hand, walk up, greet them and identify yourself.
- Ask: “Would you like some help?” The person will accept your offer or tell you if they don’t require assistance.
- Assist: listen to the reply and assist as required. Not all people who are blind or vision impaired will want assistance – don’t be offended if your assistance is not required.
If your offer is accepted, the article gives tips on how best to do so.