#communication skills

Making Interactions Easier for Your Legally Blind Clients

Making things easier….for People with Vision Loss come to appointments

 

·         Pay attention to lighting levels, glare from windows, trouble hearing, feeling isolated or stress about transit – mobility.

 

·         Assessing fatigue, the intensity of adapting, and others attitudes may give you a clue of what priorities may be most pressing.

 

·         Find the humor in the crazy things that happen…encourage them to share their embarrassing moments.

 

·         Give them advance notice when possible on appointment time or schedule changes, so that those transit services that require 1-2 week advance notice can be utilized efficiently.

 

·         Provide electronic documents in Word or Excel. Make sure your web page is accessible, with labeled graphics, links and buttons. Use headings and form fields. Ask ahead time about the size font that works, or if they prefer audio recordings or other formats.  Check in with them about what is changing or is needed ongoing. Consider an old iPad with earbuds in your lobby to provide documents in any size or speech readily.

 

·         Consider using the client’s phone to record sessions, as it can be hard to track and process.

 

·         Figure out a way to know what time it is in session.  

 

·         Figure out a plan ahead of time for getting safely out of the office if they are emotional when session is done. It takes a huge amount of focus and memory recall to pay attention to canes, dogs or trying to navigate.

 

·         Remember that often vision fluctuates and is more impacting if in unknown environments.

 

·         Work with them on outside perceptions of the are you blind enough. Remember that it is not uncommon for completely – totally blind people with good adaptive skills, to be told “you don’t look blind”. And you are faking…

 

·         Encourage them to reduce the use of vision, encourage them to switch to audio and tactile methods, even if they can “still” see some.  Explore the resistance.

 

·         Help them to call for training with Oregon Commission for the Blind, especially if currently or want to work or over 55.   They will need to identify what things are hard for them, or what hobbies, and tasks that they are no longer doing. Expect excuses and justifications. Sometimes it helps to explore how they would manage if wife or whoever, is unable to be home. Often since they don’t imagine any solution, they don’t see a point in trying. Yet most everything can be done, though differently.

 

·         Help them look for a good low vision support group. There are national list serves, and conferences with training and others facing similar emotional challenges. Each has a different age group, or socioeconomic following.  In addition a wealth of resources are available from www.afb.org or www.blindskills.com or many others.