The ABCs of Being A Sighted Guide
One might ponder, how puzzling could it be for a sighted person to lend a hand to the visually challenged? The reality is providing better guidance for the visually challenged consists of actions involving patterns and systematic approaches unknown to many.
Make it Right Movement (MIRM) together with Blind Christian Fellowship (BCF) organised a workshop titled The ABCs of Being A Sighted Guide held on the 25 May 2019 at the KL Campus of Brickfields Asia College participated by 22 people who were interested to learn ways of assisting the visually challenged.
Dr. Edward Devadason and Amanda Kong, representatives of MIRM begun the complimentary session by introducing MIRM followed by an ice breaking session to welcome the participants and encourage interaction with one another.
Amanda shared her personal experience as a visually challenged individual to provide a detailed guidance to be used by participants in various situations. For Instance, during meal time a sighted person may list contents of a plate randomly beginning with what is most figuratively appealing on the plate however Amanda encouraged sighted guides to explain food arrangement using the “clock model” as it provides better vision.
Further into the workshop, participants were paired for interactive games which allowed them to put Amanda’s advice into practice. While participating in a game “Leading the Blind” one participant was blindfolded and the other would guide the blindfolded individual to the lift area and through the stairs.
Participants including Madam Liew, a retiree found it challenging to adapt to the temporary darkness when they were blindfolded showing the importance of a sighted guide to remain alert at all times when guiding a visually challenged individual. An uncommon habit that sighted guides learnt to cultivate is to notify a visually challenged individual prior to approaching them to avoid frightening them. Ms. Patricia, one of the participants found that the workshop provided greater understanding towards hurdles of a visually challenged individual.
This first session held was 70% theoretical and 30% practical thus looking at the further need for training and the interest of participants to learn more, there was a second session held on the 21 June 2019 in the PJ Campus of Brickfields Asia College focused on the practical aspects.
The session started by refreshing participants on previously taught theories followed by practical lessons which includes guiding a blind through lifts, getting into vehicles such as buses and cars, using of restrooms and serving of proper meals. Sighted guides were also thought how to guide the visually challenged through daily hurdles. Once again it was a meaningful and exciting session where participants were interested to learn and engaged well in activities. In further sessions, MIRM aims to guide the visually challenged through the use of multimedia and technology.
It was an eventful workshop for the sighted who are ironically blinded by their daily routines, Amanda successfully helped them see the world from a visually challenged individual’s point of view to provide the best assistance possible!