When You Meet a Blind Person
Points of Courtesy
When you meet me don't be ill at ease. It will help both of us if you remember
these simple points of courtesy:
I'm an ordinary person,
just blind. Don't shout, or address me as if I were a child. Don't ask my wife,
"Does he take cream in his coffee?" Ask me.
If I am walking with
you, don't grab my arm; let me take yours. I'll keep a half-step behind, to
anticipate curbs and steps.
I want to know who's
in the room with me. Speak when you enter. Introduce me to the others. Include
children, and tell me if there's a cat or dog. Guide my hand to a chair.
The door of a room
or car left ajar is a hazard for me. So are toys on the floor. Watch out for
projecting lampshades; I hate to break things.
At dinner I will not
have trouble with ordinary table skills.
Don't avoid words like
"see." I use them, too. I'm always glad to see you.
I don't want pity.
But don't talk about the "wonderful compensations" of blindness. Whatever
I've learned has been by hard work.
If I'm your houseguest,
show me the bathroom, closet, dresser, window, the outlet for my electric razor.
The light switch too; I like to know whether the lights are on.
I'll discuss blindness
with you if you're curious, but it's an old story to me. I have as many other
interests as you do.
Don't think of me as
just a blind person. I'm just a person who happens to be blind.
In all 50 states, the
law requires drivers to STOP at the sign of an extended white cane. Only the
blind may carry white canes. You see more blind persons today, walking alone.
Not because there are more of us, but because we have learned to make our own