For Friends

FOR FRIENDS - COURTESY RULES OF BLINDNESS
When you meet me, don't be ill at ease. It will help us both if you remember these simple points of courtesy:

1. I'm an ordinary person, just blind. You don't need to raise your voice or address me as if I were a child. Don't ask my spouse what I want—"Cream in the coffee?"— ask me.

2. If I am walking with you, don't grab my arm; let me take yours. I'll keep a half-step behind, to anticipate curbs and steps.

3. I want to know who's in the room with me. Speak when you enter. Introduce me to the others. Include children, and tell me if there's a cat or a dog. Guide my hand to a chair.

4. The door to a room, a cabinet, or a car, left partially open, is a hazard to me.

5. At dinner I will not have trouble with ordinary table skills.

6. Don't avoid words like "see." I use them too. I'm always glad to see you.

7. I don't want pity. But don't talk about the "wonderful compensations" of blindness. My sense of smell, touch, or hearing did not improve when I became blind. I rely on them more, and therefore may get more information through those senses than you do—that's all.

8. If I'm your houseguest, show me the bathroom, closet, dresser, window—the light switch too. I like to know whether the lights are on.

9. I'll discuss blindness with you if you're curious, but it's an old story to me. I have as many other interests as you do.

10. Don't think of me as just a blind person. I'm a person who happens to be blind.