In the last blog Dave mentioned independence and I (Vicky) think it’s worth exploring further. We were in a situation the other day where Dave and I were chatting to a person we know (for reasons that will become clear they will remain nameless). Dave was stood in a doorway and the door kept trying to close. I told Dave that there was a door stop by the door and he bent down to find it and prop the door open. I carried on chatting but was also aware of him feeling along the door to find the door stop, ready to give verbal guidance should it be required. The person we were with then said ‘It’s more fun just watching him, isn’t it’. I couldn’t believe he’d made this comment – so rude, thoughtless and insensitive to Dave. Also, did he really think that was the case? I guess I was ‘just watching’ but I could see Dave was feeling along the door in the right direction and didn’t need me to highlight his actions and interfere when it wasn’t necessary. Obviously if he’d been miles away from the door stop I would have said but this wasn’t the case.
Interestingly we’d just done a training session where we’d talked about exactly this issue and how Dave would much prefer to find something or pick something up himself (maybe having verbal prompts to indicate where the item is) rather than have someone do this for him. We did agree that on occasions, I’ve had to say, ‘Actually Dave that’s rolled right under the table, shall I get it?’ But that’s just using common sense. I also don’t just push him out of the way and just get the item myself without saying anything (yes its that common courtesy and communication again!!)
However, we also discussed that sometimes other people’s actions are not about assuming someone can’t do something but just being polite. On that very same training, I had dropped something and the man I was talking to just picked it up for me. Maybe he assumed that as I was probably at least 20 years older than him, I might not be able to bend as quick, but I don’t think so, I think he was just being nice!!
A fine line again (and another blurred one) but I think the rule is if someone can do something, then don’t take over but offer appropriate and well thought out assistance if required. Try and consider it from their perspective. Oh and whatever you do, don’t make rude remarks – even if you think they’re funny or clever, they probably aren’t!!
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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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.