Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Meeting a Blind Person for the First Time

If the person is alone when you enter the room, make your presence known right away by speaking. Identify yourself when greeting the person, and if others are with you, be sure to introduce them and to specify where they are: “On my left is Helen Carver, and on my right is Mary Thompson.”
When offering a handshake, say something like “Allow me to shake your hand.” If the other person extends a hand, shake it or explain why you can’t. “I’d like to shake your hand, but I’m afraid I may drop all these files.” Remember to talk to a person without sight as you would to a person who can see. In a group use the people’s names as a clue to whom you are speaking. Address those who can’t see by name if they are expected to reply and speak to them directly in a normal tone of voice. Excuse yourself when you are leaving. Doing so is especially important when ending a conversation so the person isn’t left talking to thin air. When a person with visual impairment has to sign a document, provide a guiding device such as a ruler or a card. When handing money to a person who is blind, separate all the bills into denominations and specify whether they are ones, fives, and so on. The person with the impairment can identify coins by touch.

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