The World Health Organization reports 161 million people in the world who are blind and have low vision of which 25.5 million are adult Americans. Losses of vision vary in degree. Many people who are considered “blind” may have some sight. People with visual disabilities may consider their blindness or vision problems an inconvenience rather than a disability. Positive etiquette with people who have visual disabilities include the following:Communicating
- Speak the person’s name to get their attention and introduce yourself
- Introduce anyone who is with you and give pertinent information about them
- When conversing in a group, say the name of the person you are speaking to
- Speak in normal tones. Do not shout or speak in condescending tones
- When shaking hands, make a verbal reference, “Hello. Let me shake your hand.”
- Describe materials being discussed or distributed to a group that includes a person who is blind
- Inform the person when you are leaving
- Do not pat a guide dog (service animal) in harness. It is working
- When guiding, extend your elbow (rather than your hand)
- Give verbal clues to what is ahead (e.g., steps, curb, doors, etc.)
- Resource materials in large print, easy English or Braille
- Offer audio tapes of church service or other meetings (when available)
- Improve lighting in sanctuary, bathrooms, hallways and other access rooms
- Produce bulletins and other materials distributed to the congregation in large print
Cane for the Blind
Christian Record Services
Christian Record Services provides free Christian publications and programs for people with visual impairments.
American Printing House for the Blind
NAD Disability Ministries provides additional resources for Disability Ministries coordinators.
Care Ministries, Inc
Care Ministries offers a variety of services to people who are blind or visually impaired.