PROPER GUIDE TECHNIQUES
By: Carmen Willings
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is a critical area for students with visual impairments as it is essential for the student to learn to move safely and efficiently and as independently as possible through all environments. The O&M will teach the student to move safely and efficiently through their environment.
Proper Guide Technique
A sighted person can be trained to be a guide for a person who is visually impaired. There are some basics of proper sighted guide. A sighted guide can be on either side of the student, depending on the student or guides preference. If the guide is on the left, it will help with negotiating stairs and doors.
For the older student: Encourage the student who is blind to lightly grasp the guide just above the elbow as this position gives the best movement clues. The thumb should be on the outside as in holding a glass or a can of soda. The students arm should be held at a right angle. The guide should keep their arm relaxed at his/her side with the elbow bent only if more support is needed. The guide should stay one step ahead. This allows the student to anticipate the movement. The guide should pause before steps and curbs and alert them to any dangers.
For the younger student: Encourage the student to hold onto the guide's wrist and follow the guide's body movement. The student is guided, not pushed or pulled when walking along.
The following is youtube video, published by AFB, demonstrates proper guide techniques.
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Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.