IF YOU MEET A BLIND PERSON

Questions And Answers

Blind man with white cane  Blindness can happen to anyone through accident or illness, but most blind persons are able to lead useful and independent lives. When you meet a Blind Person, don't be ill at ease. It will help if you remember these simple rules of courtesy as suggested by the blind, themselves.

  • I am a normal person who happens to be blind.  Treat me as you do any acquaintence.
  • Speak to me in normal tones.  Don't as my companion, "Does he or she take cream in his coffee?"  Ask me directly.
  • I can walk more easily with you than with a dog or a cane.  Don't pull my arm, but let me take yours.
  • A person with a white cane has the legal right-of-way crossing a street.  When driving a car, always stop for a person with a white cane.
  • When I enter a bus don't leave me standing at the door, but offer to guide me to a seat.
  • When in a restaurant with me, please read the menu to me.
  • When handing money to me, separate the bills into denominations and identify them for me.
  • When entering the same room or area where I am, please identify yourself and others with you. 
  • When introducing me to another person, please indicate his location.
  • An open door of a room or a car is a hazard for me.  So are toys on the floor.
  • Whenever you meet a blind person with a guide dog, be sure to explain to any children nearby that the dog is a working dog and should not be distracted by petting.
  • When dining, I will tell you how I am accustomed to having things arranged, and I may need help to cut my meat.  Please tell me where my napkin and  glass is and locaiton of food on my plate.
  • I will discuss blindness with you if you're curious, but I have as many other instrests as you.  Radio broadcasts, braille materials, talking books, and yes, even TV keep me generally well informed, but I depend upon otehr people for further information.

"How to Approach A Guide Dog Team"

A TEAM consists of a guide dog and its owner.

When a guide dog is in harness, it is at "WORK" and is responsible for guiding its owner and should not be distracted.

Here are some hints on what to do (and NOT do) when you come across a guide dog team.

Always greet the owner first.  Whatever side the guide dog is on, approach from the other side. Do not make eye contact with the guide dog.

Do not approach or call out to a team while it is in the middle of a task.

Do not pet a guide dog without asking the owner's permission. The dog should not be petted in harness.  Do not get your feelings hurt if the owner says 'NO'.

Do not call out or whistle at a guide dog.  The owner's safety is dependent on the guide dog maintaining focus.

Do not allow your pet to come near a guide dog team.  Always keep your pet on a leash.  And please let me know if there is another animal in the area.

Do not feel or offer the guide dog food or treats.  Guide dogs are fed on a schedule that is strictly maintained.  Because they often visit restaurants and grocery stores, they are trained to ignore food.

Please do not be afraid to ask questions, it is how we learn.  Be kind and courteous and let's enjoy each other's company.