Many people would like to assist a person with vision loss when appropriate but hesitate because they don’t know how. The Town of Brookline, Massachusetts has just released a new instructional video telling and showing via demonstration clips, how-to guide a person with vision loss in a variety of common situations.
Produced by the Town’s Commission on Disability, along with Brookline Age-Friendly Cities TV and Brookline Interactive Group, the video is simple and offers repetition in the demonstrations to make learning and remembering easy.
This video is free to all and may be used by any agencies, organizations, groups, or individuals who find it useful. The Brookline Commission on Disability welcomes questions, feedback, and reports on how it is being used.
Contact the Town of Brookline’s Community Relations Specialist and ADA / Section 504 Coordinator, at 1-617-730- 2326, TTY 1-617-730-2327
The ADA Coordinator is: Sarah E. Kaplan, [email protected], 617-730-2329, in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations.
Assisting people with vision loss during the pandemic
People with vision loss often turn to strangers in various public places for assistance in getting to their desired location, whether it is to cross the street or to find an elevator in an office building or hospital. Most people are generous in offering help in these circumstances but may hesitate during the pandemic since it is difficult to stay 6 feet apart when guiding a visually impaired person. The Town of Brookline has produced an instructional video on standard guiding techniques, but some modifications are desirable during the community’s concerns about virus transmission.
When guiding a visually impaired person, both the individual and the guide should be wearing masks; note that they are facing in the same direction so are not directing their breath toward each other. A plastic bag or piece of cloth can keep them from touching bare hand to bare elbow skin. Additional ideas for safe guiding with increased distance include placing hand on the guide’s back rather than the arm, putting a shopping cart between the two people (guide in front), using an extra cane as a guiding pole, each holding one end, and guiding verbally from behind. In all cases, the person with vision loss should also be using a mobility aid, such as a cane.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, Signing Ceremony, July 26, 1990