Tag Archives: disabled people

How to Assist a Blind Person During Social Distancing

I received this message from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA), the charity which trains guide dogs in the UK, and thought it would be of value to my readers as it offers useful tips on how to assist a visually impaired person during this time of social distancing:

“Did you know that only one fifth of the public ‘completely comfortable’ offering to help someone with sight loss while social distancing is in place?*

“Today Guide Dogs has launched a new campaign called ‘Be There’ to give the public ways of supporting people with sight loss during social distancing.

“Social distancing is the most challenging aspect for me in the whole Covid-19 situation… it would really help if people have an awareness of how they can play their part.” Jonathan, guide dog owner

Jon is not alone in this, we’ve heard similar stories many times over the past few months. That’s why we’ve come up with 3 simple tips for the wider public to help them support people with sight loss:

1. Keep your distance, but don’t disappear – People with sight loss may find it challenging to social distance, so if you see someone with a Guide Dog or a long cane then you can help them by making sure you keep 2m away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also offer your help.

2. Say hello and offer your help – Simply by letting someone with sight loss know you are nearby; you are giving them the opportunity to ask for any help if they need it. People often feel unsure about their ability to help someone with sight loss, but their request could be a simple as finding out where a shopping queue starts, or if there is a safer place to cross a road.

3. Describe the scene – We’ve all had to adapt to unusual sights during lockdown – people standing apart in long lines outside of supermarkets for example. But those with sight loss haven’t always witnessed this to the same extent, which can be isolating and confusing. By describing what you can see to someone with sight loss, you can help them to understand the environment and navigate accordingly”.

As a visually impaired person and a guide dog owner, I have, I think been lucky as I’ve continued to find the public helpful during the current COVID-19 situation. Just last evening I was walking home after having spent a couple of hours with a friend in Crystal Palace park, when I became aware that the pavement was blocked by workmen carrying out pavement works. Without me asking, one of the workmen offered me his arm and guided me passed the obstruction. Again, a few weeks back, a gentleman helped me navigate fallen branches in my local woodland by allowing me to take his arm.

(You can find out more about the work of Guide Dogs here, https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/).

Please Support RNIB’s Campaign To Protect The Right Of Visually Impaired Persons To Continue To Receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP) By Writing To Your MP Before 29 January 2016

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The UK government is consulting on possible changes to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a benefit paid to disabled people which, if implemented could lead to blind individuals losing some (or all) of the financial support they are currently receiving. The purpose of PIP (previously known as Disability Living Allowance) is to provide support to disabled people as regards the extra expenses they face as a consequence of being disabled. So, for example a blind person such as myself may (and, in my case does) use part of their Allowance to pay for someone to read printed material to them. The Royal National Institute Of Blind People (RNIB) is asking that people contact their Member of Parliament (MP) requesting them to right to The Secretary Of State For Work And Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith, to express opposition to the proposed changes. You can find details of the RNIB campaign by following this link, http://www.rnib.org.uk/campaigning-current-campaigns-employment-and-welfare/pip-campaign. I would very much appreciate it if you would please consider writing to your MP in support of RNIB’s campaign. The consultation closes on 29 January 2016 so an email to your MP before that date would be much appreciated.

Thank you for reading.

Kevin

Can I touch Your Face?

Being blind

I sometimes find

myself wondering what women look like.

With little sight

it is impossible to tell

so why do I on this subject dwell?

I do perceive

that a voice may deceive.

Girlish tones

Can belong to old crones.

A scent draws me in

thoughts of skin

and sin.

“Would you like to touch my face?”

“This is not the place

my dear.

People are near.

Besides we have only just met.

I don’t even know your name yet”!

She lingers.

Thinking of sensitive fingers

Loss of sight

does not equal no delight …