Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Courtesy Rules for Blindness

From the National federation of the Blind.

Ten simple, straightforward pointers which encourage sighted persons to feel comfortable and at ease with blind persons, is also helpful to know.

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. You don't need to raise your voice or address me as if I were a child. Don't ask my spouse what I want—"Cream in the coffee?"—ask me.
I may use a long white cane or a guide dog to walk independently; or I may ask to take your arm. Let me decide, and please 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.
The door to a room or cabinet or to a car left partially open is a hazard to me.
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. My sense of smell, touch, or hearing did not improve when I became blind. I rely on them more and, therefore, may get more information through those senses than you do—that's all.
If I'm your houseguest, show me the bathroom, closet, dresser, window—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 yield the right of way when they see my 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 way.

For more information about gifts, bequests, programs for the blind, or other matters concerning blindness or the blind, contact the local chapter in your area or contact:

The National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Phone: 410-659-9314
E-mail: nfb@nfb.org


joey said...

I don't know where to write this on your many wonderful posts, dear Heather, but please know you are one of the loveliest people that has entered my life ... I'm honored to know you :) Your children are beautiful and will grow like beautiful flowers with you tending them. I guess I chose this site since it is with tearful/loving heart I will share with you ... we lost my sister this summer, a gift that will be with me forever. We left the garden center yesterday (not there often) but always send hugs with co-workers that might see you. I don't know much but this much I know is true, the world is a better place because of you. (((BIG HUGS))), dear one.

Rebekah Hubley said...


I love this and just letting you know that I am steeling this for my blog... :-)

Lydia said...

Dear Heather,
I am so glad you have posted this where others can find it. This is one thing to correct-the NFB is the National Federation "of" the Blind, because it is a national membership organization. I am a member who is proud that we are go-getters running our own organization, not a "for" which would be a service organization.
Thanks again! You rock!