Hello everyone and welcome back to Life Of a Blind girl.
I am really excited about today’s post, it is a collaboration with one of my best friends My Blurred World. She is an amazing person and her blog is fabulous too so make sure you head on over there! Some of you may remember our previous collab The VIP Daily living tag we really enjoyed doing that one and we both got a good response so thought we’d do another collaboration for you all!
As you can tell from the title, this post is ‘things you shouldn’t say/do to a blind/VI person’. This post is not to insult anyone, wE both want to raise awareness of blindness/visual impairment and disability on our blogs so we thought this was a good way of doing this. We’ve come up with 6 points each so make sure you go over to My Blurred World’s blog and read her post! You can read it here
Just a quick note: we are thinking of doing a series together on our blogs, where we can discuss all aspects of sight loss such as fashion and share our tips and tricks. Please let us know if you’d like us to do this!
Anyway, enjoy today’s post!
- Saying something is “over there”
This one really does bug me! We usually can’t see where something is or where you are pointing to so please be more specific. For example, “can you get the remote, it’s on the sofa” or “it’s to your left”. If you give us some indication and clear instructions as to where something is then chances are, we will be able to complete that task. For me, I only have light perception so this means I cannot see where you are pointing to or see where an object is.
2. Don’t Ask how we know where we’re going using a cane or guide dog
This has happened to me a few times. A guide dog isn’t a sat nav and neither is a cane. It sounds very patronizing but canes don’t have eyes and guide dogs do not do all the work for us. When travelling independently, we have to learn routes and basically remember them and make a mental map. Learning routes can be very time consuming and can often be difficult. If obstacles are in the way, then this can often confuse us so we have to think of a way around this. A cane or a guide dog doesn’t do all the work for us. We are also able to travel independently on buses, trains and planes.
3. Please don’t ask us if we know what food we’re eating
This is rather weird and annoying. Just because we can’t see, we have 4 very good other senses. If we’re in a restaurant then we’ll have ordered it ourselves or if we cooked it, then that’s pretty obvious. There are many ways of being able to identify labels on food packaging such as apps on our phones. We are not completely incompetent and are very able to know what food we are cooking or ordering in a restaurant. Just because we can’t see does not mean that we are unable to recognise things such as food. I remember I was once asked by someone at school how I know how to eat. My sight loss does not affect how I eat my food.
4. Saying you feel sorry for us because we’re blind or visually impaired
We know you’re just trying to empathise with us but it really doesn’t help. We don’t want sympathy. We can have normal lives just like everyone else, we can take part in everyday activities. For example, I’m at university and have a social life, just like sighted people. My disability does not stop me from doing these things and I believe that it should never stop anyone. Many people have the idea that we live lonely lives, sit at home doing nothing because we are unable to do so. This is not true, we can go out to work, school/college/university just like everyone else. We don’t want sympathy because being blind or visually impaired is all that we’ve known or we’ve adapted to this way of life. There’s no point feeling sorry for ourselves because that would get us nowhere and we want you to think this way as well. I’ve had some experiences where I’ve been out and completing simple tasks such as putting my card in the chip and pin machine and the person behind the counter has gone “aw bless”, why? It’s a simple task for me to do and I do this exactly the same way as you.
5. Assuming that we can’t speak for ourselves and changing your vocabulary when talking to us
There’s really nothing worse than when someone speaks to the person you’re with rather than you, you’re just stood there awkwardly like “hello, I do exist, I can speak for myself!” A lot of people speak to the person we are with rather than ourselves. Just because we have a disability, it does not mean that we cannot speak for ourselves. I don’t know whether people don’t actually know how to interact with blind or visually impaired people which stops them from talking directly to us, but it really is a pet hate of mine and makes you feel very uncomfortable. You don’t need to shout or talk to us like we’re a child, just speak normally. When you interact with us, you don’t need to change your vocabulary either. You can say “did you watch that programme last night” or “have you seen whatever?” We don’t change our everyday vocabulary just to fit with our disability so neither should you. Also, assuming the person that we’re with is our carer. Just because we’re blind we do not have a carer, granted many people with other disabilities as well as blindness or visual impairments have carers and that is absolutely fine but the majority of blind or visually impaired people do not have a carer. We’re usually out with a family member or a friend who is not our carer.
6. Assuming we always need help
Although it’s in your best interest to help us and we do appreciate it, we often don’t need it. We do like to be independent. We can cook for ourselves, choose an outfit, travel independently, apply makeup, work/study, the list is endless. Just like sighted people, we will ask if we need help with something. If we don’t try something ourselves and get everyone else to do things for us then we will never learn, grow as a person or be independent. For example, if we’re making a drink, please don’t come and take over because we are capable of doing this on our own.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post as much as I enjoyed writing it and collaborating with my amazing friend! Remember to check out My Blurred World’s post as well and please do let us know if you would like us to do a series, your thoughts would be really appreciated!