Gauging how much information is useful is a tough one and communication in general is something we talk about a lot on our training particularly in relation to Sighted Guide – so when you’re guiding someone, continually talking can just become noise and then when you say something important the person is likely to miss or ignore it – so for example, describing all of your surroundings and the colours of the walls and floors and that people are in the distance as a continuous stream may prevent the person from hearing you say ‘the surface is a bit uneven here’. But again it’s about getting to know the person and how much information they like, whether they are likely to return to that place unaccompanied etc.
Another example (and hence the title) is when someone meets Dave and goes to shake his hand. Dave usually doesn’t see this (although will sometimes anticipate it anyway), and so, on the occasions that he doesn’t I (Vicky) will just say (quietly to Dave) ‘Hand’. Out of context this would, obviously, be weird, but as the person has usually spoken first, this quick word is enough for Dave to put his hand forward before the other person takes their hand away in embarrassment! The other option would be for the person putting their hand out to say ‘shall I shake your hand’ but again this is awkward if the person doesn’t know how much sight Dave has. The other important part to this is that you’re giving that information quietly (or so just they can hear) to the person you’re with – it’s not information everyone else in the room needs to hear.
More complicated things include describing people – how much information is helpful or is this a visual thing that adds to our making assumptions about people – maybe this is for another post!
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Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.