Kevin has Retinitis Pigmentosa and has been living with sight loss for over 20 years. In the video below he talked Debbie through his simple advice for sighted people when communicating with people with visual impairments. We’ve pulled out our favourite top 5 tips…
1. When you enter a room let people know and introduce yourself
This is important in small or large groups and enables anyone with a visual impairment (VI) to build a picture of who is in the room. Also, make people aware when you are leaving the room.
2. Don’t SHOUT!
It is quite common for people with a VI to be shouted at as people may think this makes their message clearer in the absence of sight, but this is not the case. Speak in your normal tone.
3. Use your natural gestures and body language
Although someone may not be able to see you’re looking at their eyes, or making hand gestures, continue to use your normal body language. Someone with a VI will be able to pick up from your voice whether or not you are looking at them so don’t try and alter your body language as it’s likely you will sound unnatural.
4. It’s fine to use language that references sight
Don’t worry about using everyday phrases that reference sight such as, “See you later” or asking questions like “Did you watch Game of Thrones” last night?” This is part of our everyday language and people with a VI will use it as well
5. When giving directions be descriptive
Try to be accurate and as descriptive as possible when giving directions. So don’t use phrases like “the toilet is just down there”, instead say, “go straight down this corridor and the toilet and is the second door on the left side”.