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How to help a blind or partially sighted person
- Ever found yourself wondering whether it's appropriate to offer help to a blind or partially sighted person, and how you should approach them?
- Do you know how to behave around a guide dog, and what you need to do to let them get on with their job?
These are common concerns that many sighted people have when they come across blind or partially sighted people in their community.
Read our helpful hints below and you will be well on your way to becoming more confident around blind or partially sighted people. You can also find out more by
Five helpful hints on approaching a guide dog owner out working with their dog
- Never distract a guide dog in harness. The dog will be concentrating on guiding its owner. If distracted, it might put itself and its owner in danger. Ignore the guide dog completely at all times, both when it is in harness or on a lead, and even avoid eye contact.
- A guide dog owner will indicate the need for sighted guide assistance when the dog is in harness by allowing the harness-handle to lie on the dog's back, whilst maintaining hold of the lead.
- A guide dog usually walks on the left of the owner. Allow the owner to take your left arm if they require sighted guide assistance, so the guide dog is on the opposite side to you.
- Never tell a guide dog what to do. It's up to the guide dog owner to give the dog instructions and directions.
- Never feed a guide dog. They have a perfectly balanced diet and should only be fed by the guide dog owner.
Five helpful hints for guiding a blind or partially sighted person
- Say who you are and offer help, communicate clearly and listen to the person's request (they will confirm if they want assistance).
- Ask where and how the person would like to be guided.
- Allow the person to take your arm, rather than you holding theirs.
- Say if you're approaching steps (and whether they go up or down), kerbs or hazards.
- Say when you have finished providing assistance and are leaving the person.