Guiding a Blind Person

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What can you do to help your visitors?

  • Introduce yourself and offer to help, and then wait to see if your offer is accepted
  • Ask how the person would like to be guided. Most will prefer to take your arm rather than you take theirs

“If someone takes my arm, I’m not independent, they’re in control and it’s not a comfortable feeling”

  • If the person is accompanied by a guide dog, approach from the other side. Do not take hold of the dog’s lead or harness
  • If there is room to walk side by side, stand next to the person so they can take hold of your arm
  • Keep your guiding arm still and relaxed
  • Match your pace to the person you are guiding
  • If you approach a narrow or busy area, tell the person. Move your guiding arm to the middle of your back, keeping it straight, so the person can walk behind
  • Highlight steps, kerbs and slopes as you approach them, and say whether they go up or down
  • Pause before steps and make sure that the person is on the side of the handrail – change sides if necessary – and show its position with your guiding arm
  • Watch out for obstructions and other hazards, including those at head height
  • Explain changes in the ground surface
  • If you are guiding someone into a seat, describe it and then place their hand on the back of the seat
  • Say when you have finished providing assistance and are leaving them – and make sure the person knows where they are and which way they are facing