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The Courtesy Rules of Blindness
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 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 and 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.