Transcript: Brenda Naimy
Click to hear Brenda Naimy describe how to use the human guide technique (time: 2:12).
I think it helps to think of human guide procedures as well–thought–out common sense. There are a few important things to keep in mind when guiding someone who’s visually impaired. But there’s nothing really complex about being a good guide.
It is a common mistake to assume that a guide is always wanted or needed. So it’s better to ask the visually impaired person if they’d like a guide. And, if they don’t already know who you are, it’s a good idea to identify yourself.
Another common error made by inexperienced guides is taking someone by the hand to lead them. As a rule, it’s important to avoid pulling or otherwise steering someone who’s visually impaired. It’s better to have them hold your arm and have them walk a step behind you so that they can follow your body movements. And while you’re walking, you do want to be sure to allow for enough clearance for the width of your bodies. If the area’s crowded or narrow, you can ask the person to move behind you or you can signal them by putting your arm behind your back. If you’re approaching any uneven sidewalk areas or unexpected slopes, you want to be sure to warn the person so that they can avoid stumbling. Similarly, whenever you approach stairs or curbs, you want to be sure to stop and tell the person before you proceed.
Another thing to keep in mind when guiding someone is that going through doors can be a little awkward if done incorrectly. As the guide, you want to open the door and lead going through it. It will go smoother if you ask the visually impaired person to assist you in holding the door open and pause and have them close it after you’ve both gone through.
And finally, when you’re getting ready to leave the person you’ve guided, you do want to be sure to leave them in contact with a chair or a wall so that they don’t feel like they’re left hanging in open space by themselves. And so they don’t experience a moment of embarrassment by talking to themselves, you want to let them know when you’re about to walk away.Just a brief “see you later” will take care of that.