Working with Individuals who are Visually Impaired


National Federation of the Blind  pic

National Federation of the Blind

Jon Schorsch medically retired from the Port of Seattle Police Department in 2007 after serving at the department for 14 years, then went on to complete his juris doctor at the Seattle University School of Law in 2014. After losing his sight, Jon Schorsch became involved in organizations such as the National Federation of the Blind and Sight Connections.

Visual impairment refers to vision loss where eyesight cannot be corrected back to a “normal” level. Age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, eye injuries, diabetes, strokes and cataracts are among the causes of visual impairment.

People who have a visual impairment are still able to work. Working with individuals who are visually impaired may be awkward at first for a person who has never had firsthand experience working with such individuals. Below are some things to keep in mind when working with visually impaired people:

Before starting a conversation, identify yourself to colleagues who have a visual impairment. Do not assume that the person will recognize you from your voice.

Speak normally to coworkers with visual impairment. Do not talk too loudly or slowly.

While preparing documents for a meeting or other purpose, simple fonts should be used, as it will be hard for people with low vision to look at stylized or graphical fonts.

Never touch, push or pull a person with visual impairment without asking him or her first. If one is talking to a visually impaired person and the person does not realize it, one can gently touch his or her back to gain their attention.

Lastly, give a verbal indication of the end of a conversation before walking away.


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