moderated Re: Working with people at disability help desk


On Sat, Mar 6, 2021 at 03:02 PM, Shirley Tracy wrote:
Some people are partially sighted and the people helping don’t know who can see what. And they may ask to determine if you can see at all or if they need to describe differently.
When I was doing a lot of freelance tutoring for the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired, I learned very quicky that the information I was provided about the clients I was going to meet for the first time was often woefully incomplete.

After several years doing this work, I started starting my first sessions, after customary pleasantries, with the question, "So, how blind are you?," and that generally got a chuckle, regardless of visual status.  I'd follow that immediately with it really helps me to help you if I know whether you have any residual vision or not, and if you do, what is the nature of that vision.  People "got" what I was getting at, and why.

When you're tutoring or assisting someone with visual impairment through total blindness, it's really helpful to know what you (the tutor/assistant) have to work with as far as what the client still has, as far as vision.  It's also helpful to know whether they are adventitiously blind or have been blind since birth.  I never use color descriptors with someone who's been blind since birth, since they're nothing more than a pure abstraction.  But if I'm working with someone who can, or could, recognize color there are times when giving visual descriptions and including color in them allows them to paint whatever sort of mental picture they can.

It's an attempt to meet that individual where they are, as who they are, with some idea of how they got to be both.

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide

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