Tag Archives: social issues

The Dos And Donts of Interacting with a Blind or Visually Impaired Person

People come to my blog either because they like my poetry, or due to a post on a subject of interest to them catching their attention. Most of those clicking on this site are unaware of the fact that I am registered blind (unless they click on my “About page and see a photograph of me with my guide dog, Trigger, or they come across one of the few posts in which I talk about my visual impairment).

Not being aware of my blindness means that my readers interact with me as they would with anyone else (which is, of course as it should be for I am not defined by my visual impairment). However, when I meet people in the real (off-line world) I do come across individuals who are unsure how to interact with a visually impaired person, indeed some people are downright embarrassed.

A few days back, I came across this excellent post on “Life of a Blind Girl”, https://lifeofablindgirl.com/2019/06/02/the-dos-and-donts-when-interacting-with-a-blind-or-visually-impaired-person/, in which the author talks about the dos and donts of interacting with someone who is blind or visually impaired. In essence, as the author states, one should interact with a blind or visually impaired person in the same way in which one would interact with anyone else.

However (as the blogger points out) many people do not follow this simple rule. Examples of the behaviour identified by the author (and experienced by myself) include: speaking to the non-visually impaired companion of the blind person rather than addressing the visually impaired person directly, asking personal questions one would not address to a non-disabled person and being afraid of using commonly utilised language such as “see you later”.

In terms of the latter, I have lost count of the number of occasions on which someone has said “see you around” only to apologise to me for using visual language!

As someone who is blind, I use such language all the time and I don’t expect people to avoid utilising it when interacting with me. In fact by employing such language people demonstrate that they regard me (and other blind/visually impaired people) as individuals who are not defined by our disability.

There are too many self-appointed spokesmen who claim to speak on behalf of the visually impaired (and, I would add other groups), who say that one should not employ such and such language. Many of these people are well meaning (but wrong) while a few do, perhaps wish to use disability politics for their own unholy ends.

I commend this article to anyone who has ever felt unsure (or embarrassed) as regards interacting with a visually impaired or blind person.

Kevin

Lonliness

Most things can be bought.
Peas and rice
Are nice,
And vice
That too can be bought.

I know
That one can buy
A semblance ,
A resemblance
Of love, though
Cupid’s arrow
Is never shot.

A hot
Date will thrill
The man of pleasure
But, at his leisure
A thought
May, perchance
Come, “’tis fun
To dance
With the escort.
To hold her tight
Throughout the night.
But, come the morning light …
Love can not be bought”.

Or perhaps he doesn’t care
And, with his graying hair
He continues down pleasure’s primrose path,
Where the devil does silently laugh
And whispers low
“You know
I will have you in the end
My friend.
Paid for charms
Can not save thee from the arms
Of the devil of lonliness

When her party dress comes off
You may hear me cough
And say
One day
You will die alone
Or by the side
Of a girl who can not decide
Her name
Which she does change
Like the weather.
It comes to the same
Thing in the end,
Though you may pretend
Otherwise, and avert your eyes
From the truth
Of the descending roof”.

“If Everybody Is In”, a poem about homelessness

Crisis is a charity which does excellent work aimed at tackling homelessness in the United Kingdom. The charity’s poet in residence has written a powerful poem “If Everybody Is in”, which can be found in the video below:,

Kevin

Shoppers

I pass the lights
And think on the delights
Inside
Where shoppers hide
From the cold outside
Where people hurry by
And do not catch another’s eye.

What man will glorify the ethereal
When there is a material
Girl with perfect skin
Who beckons him in
To her store?

Those who are discreet
Do not ask for a receipt.
They know the power
Of the shower
And how scent lingers
On fingers.
But one can not forever hide
From the cold outside