Friday, February 5, 2016

How a Sighted Person Can Help a Blind Person

It's strange how some coincidences just happen. Just yesterday I published the video below and I was in desperate need of a sighted guide.

The reason Ineeded a sighted guide yesterday was quite simple. I was walking with my guide dog in the downtown area when someone in a park to our right suddenly started screaming and ranting. The park is a favorite haunt of homeless people and all sorts of screams and shouts of abuse are common. Well yesterday there must have been something in the shouts that Leif, my giuide dog just didn't like and he froze. Wouldn't go forward nor back.

A couple of people walked by and told me we were at the top of an incline. I knew this because I walk down there regularly but otherwise they did nothing to help, even though I asked if there was an obstacle ahead, Leif may have seen an obstacle several feet ahead after all and not wanted me to go into a dead end. No one answered.

Then a young woaman who was passing came over, asked me if I needed help. I asked about any obstacles and she confirmed there were non in the area. Then asked if she could guide me a little.

That was good. Even better was that she offered me her elbow. Great, she knew the correct way to be a sighted guide. We walked carefully down the incline. Leif was breaver with the extra pair of eyes. The rant and swearing still continued over to our right and Leif pulled left a little, so I guess he was just nervous of the ranter.

At the bottom of the incline Leif took over again, I said my thank yous to the young woman and we made our seperate ways.

In the end it was so great a relief to meet a stranger who knew how to be a sighted guide.

The rules are.

1.. Ask if the person needs assistance.

2. If Yes to 1. Offer an elbow to the blind person.

3. Let the blind person cup your elbow in their fingers.

4. Lead them steadily, warning of any obstacles to the front, Left or right as you come up to them.

Do you have any experience of sighted guides that you would like to share? Post your stories in the comments below.

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