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NARRATOR 1: Different people each walking with a sighted guide.
NARRATOR 2: Sighted guide is a way of walking with, and guiding, a person who is visually impaired, safely and efficiently, in any type of environment. It’s simple once you know a few basic techniques. You may need to explain this technique to the person you are offering to guide, since they may not be aware of what to do.
NARRATOR 1: A woman approaches a man sitting at a bench in the shopping mall.
NARRATOR 2: First, when offering to serve as a guide, you should identify yourself and ask if the person would like assistance. If so, touch the back of their hand with the back of your hand, telling the person to take your arm just above your elbow. You can walk with your arm at your side. The person who is visually impaired should walk a half-step behind you and follow the movements of your body as you walk. While you walk, you should talk to the person, explaining where you are going, what you are passing, and obstacles that you are avoiding.
Walking Through a Narrow Area
NARRATOR 1: The man and guide travel toward a doorway.
NARRATOR 2: When you are entering a narrow passage, tell the person you are guiding that you are entering a narrow area. You, as the guide, should move so that your arm is behind your back. This directs the visually impaired person to walk behind you. The person you are guiding should walk with their arm extended. That way, they will not step on your heels.
Making a Turn
NARRATOR 1: A woman guides the man in the shopping mall.
GUIDE: Sometimes it’s necessary to make a turn, and this style turn is the most efficient and takes up the least amount of room.
NARRATOR 2: To learn how to properly make a turn, observe how the sighted guide does most of the moving so that the visually impaired person doesn’t have to. Here, the guide faces the person she is guiding and initiates the turn. She moves around him, almost as if dancing. He remains stationary. Also, notice how she maintains constant contact with him. This technique places the guide in control and reduces extra movement on the part of the visually impaired. It also allows turns to take place smoothly in tight quarters.
Walking Up and Down Stairs
NARRATOR 2: Tell the person you are guiding when approaching steps or an escalator. Explain which way the steps are going, up or down, and how many there are.
NARRATOR 1: The man and guide approach descending stairs.
NARRATOR 2: Encourage the person to place their hand on the handrail, if there is one. Walk up or down the steps in front of the person. Let the person know when you come to the landing or to the last step.