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Tips for People who are Blind or have Low Vision

 General Tips

  1. Always ask the person how you can best assist.
  2. Ask/Look for:
  • An identification bracelet with special health information.
  • Emergency contact information to reach the person’s family.
  • Essential equipment and supplies (for example: medicine, wheelchair, walker, oxygen, batteries, communication devices: head pointers, alphabet boards, speech synthesizers, etc.).
  • Mobility aids (for example, wheelchair, cane, walker or an assistance or service animal).
  • Special health instructions (for example, allergies, medicines, etc.).
  • Special communication information (for example, the person might say [s]he is stressed, look confused, withdraw, start rubbing their hands together).
  • Conditions that people might misinterpret (for example, someone might mistake Cerebral Palsy for drunkenness).
  • Try to include the person in conversations with other people; don’t talk about a person in front of that person.
  • If the person does not use words to speak, look for gestures or other behaviors that communicate what that person wants to express.
  • Don’t assume that people do not understand just because they don’t use words to communicate.
  • Ask the person if they are comfortable with the word 'blind.'

 Tips for People who are Blind or have Low Vision 

  • There is a difference between low vision and blindness. Some people who are "legally blind" have some sight, and may see some shapes and contrasts, while others are totally blind.
  • Announce your presence, speak out, and then enter the area.
  • Don't be afraid to use words like "see," "look" or "blind."
  • State the nature of the emergency and offer them your arm. As you walk, advise them of any obstacles. Offer assistance but let the person explain what help is needed.
  • Do not grab or attempt to guide them without first asking them. Let the person grasp your arm or shoulder lightly for guidance.
  • They may choose to walk slightly behind you to gauge your body's reactions to obstacles.
  • Be sure to mention stairs, doorways, narrow passages, ramps, etc.
  • When guiding someone to a seat, place the person's hand on the back of the chair
  • If leading several individuals who are blind or have low vision, ask them to guide the person behind them. Remember that you'll need to communicate any written information orally.
  • When you have reached safety, orient the person to the location and ask if any further assistance is needed.
  • If the person has a service animal, don't pet it unless the person says it is ok to do so. Service animals must be evacuated with the person.


Contact DDCO
2401 NW 23rd St, Ste. 74
Oklahoma City, OK 73107

Fax: 405-521-4910
Email: staff@okddc.ok.gov

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