Guiding someone who is blind or partially sighted

Our top tips for guiding visually impaired people.

An older woman is guided by a young man at the seaside. They are both smiling

Introducing yourself to your blind or partially sighted client

A blind or partially sighted person may not be aware of you as you approach, so it is important to say hello before you touch them in any way.

Guiding someone who is blind or partially sighted

If it is the first time that the client has come to your office then ask politely if they would like to be guided to where the meeting will take place. Not all blind and partially sighted people need help in getting around however, so please don’t be offended if your offer is not accepted.

Offer your arm for the visually impaired person to grip just above the elbow, or the person may prefer to grip your shoulder. Walk slightly in front of your client making sure that the pace is not too fast or too slow.

If steps or stairs are involved in the journey then please make the person you are guiding aware by stating if they are to go up or down. Always make you client aware when you are approaching, and have reached ground level.

To help your visitor sit down put his or her hand on the back of the chair. This means that the person will be able to find their way to the seat.

During the meeting

If the visually impaired person is accompanied then avoid addressing your remarks to their companion as if the blind person was not there. If you need to leave the room then explain what you are doing, so the blind or partially sighted person is aware of who, if anyone, remains in the room with them.

Parting company

When the journey is over make sure that the blind or partially sighted person knows the direction which they are facing and where they should go next. When you go, make the person aware when you leave their company.

Further information:

Download our guiding fact sheet (PDF, 83 KB)

More information for solicitors

Tips on producing printed material for people who are blind or partially sighted

Guide for legal professionals with blind or partially sighted clients