Some deafblind people need some assistance from someone else to get around, this is known as guiding. If you know someone who is deafblind then you may need to guide them at some point. The most important thing to remember when guiding someone is to do it in the way that they are comfortable with. Remember, not all deafblind people need to be guided.
Tips for guiding a deafblind person
- Always introduce yourself, ask if they would like to be guided and if so, which side they would like you to be on
- Don’t grab their arm, let them take yours
- Aim to walk about half a step ahead of them
- Walk at the speed of the person you are guiding, not yours. Consider the person’s age and whether they have any other disabilities.
- Point out any steps or other potential hazards before you get to them. For steps and kerbs, tell them that you will be going up or down.
- When you have finished guiding, tell them you are leaving, never just walk away
- Think ahead, use common sense!
People like to be guided in many different ways; some like a lot of close contact and others won’t. The three most common grips to use when guiding are:
- Linked arm grip, the deafblind person links their arm through yours
- Holding elbow grip, the deafblind person holds your arm just above the elbow
- Hand on shoulder grip, the deafblind person places their hand on your shoulder