Blindness / Visual Impairments
As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm the dignity and worth of each individual. Each person is unique, whether or not they are blind or have vision problems. Therefore, it is impossible to make universal statements about what will enable us all, in our diversity, to be welcomed through accommodation. It is always important and appropriate to ask the people being welcomed what will work for them.
Many people who are called “blind” have some vision. Some people may be able to read large print and move about without use of a white cane or guide dog, may be able to perceive light and darkness, and perhaps see some colors. Some people may have better vision one day than another, or see better in certain lighting conditions.
People use different techniques to do things, according to their preferences, skills, and needs. For example, to access printed material some people may use Braille; others may use large print, magnifiers and telescopes, closed-circuit TVs, computer-generated text-to-voice, or audio-publications.
Eliminating tripping hazards; painting white strips on sidewalk edges; pruning low-hanging branches adjacent to sidewalks; having Braille and large print signage, hymnals, meeting agendas and minutes, newsletters and orders of service; painting a strip of white or yellow on the edges of steps; having lighting with no glare or dark areas are some examples that create an atmosphere which is environmentally welcoming and accessible to someone with visual limitations.
- Etiquette for Use with People Who Have Vision Impairments
- Hints to Help Create Larger/Clearer Documents
Your local Independent Living Center may be able to answer your questions and/or help assess your campus.
If you have any uncertainty about what is and is not courteous, tactful behavior toward a friend, relative, or stranger who is blind or visually impaired, the American Foundation for the Blind offers helpful guidelines: