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    10 Things Not To Say Or Do To A Blind Person

    We asked our supporters at Action for Blind People to share the most ridiculous things that are said or done to people who are blind or partially sighted. Here are some of the best - sound familiar?

    1. “Can your dog understand sat nav directions?”

    As far as we know, dogs cannot understand directions from a sat nav. Nor can dogs read maps. Not surprisingly, dogs can't read bus numbers either. So, if a person with a guide dog asks for directions, don't address the dog. Dogs can't talk either.

    "Whilst waiting for a bus with my guide dog by my side, the bus is pulling up and a lady says: 'Isn't it wonderful how they can read the bus numbers, such intelligent dogs!' I replied: 'You should read some of his poetry, it's amazing!'"

    - N. H., London

    2. “Do blind people have furniture in their house?”

    Yes. Unless the individual prefers to lead an extremely minimalist lifestyle, then it's highly likely that their house will contain furniture, as any other house.

    "I had a journalist visit my house once and she immediately started running around the place looking about. I asked her what she was doing and she replied that she was amazed that I had 'stuff'! She thought my house would be empty because I was blind! How weird is that?!"

    -B.R., Norwich

    3. “Do you ever eat pet food by mistake?”

    Whilst those crunchy biscuits do seem so tantalisingly delicious, the answer here is a clear and simple, no.

    "One time me and my partner, we are both blind, were sitting in a taxi after a night out. We were discussing what to eat and also that we had got a huge batch of dog food for our guide dogs delivered. The taxi driver asks, dead serious: 'Do you ever mistake your dog's food for yours and eat it?'"

    - R. A, Royal Tunbridge Wells

    4. Don’t shout

    This is a classic one. Just because someone is blind, it doesn't mean he or she can't hear you. Stop talking like you're talking to your deaf grandma.


    "If I had trouble hearing I'd having a hearing aid not a cane."

    - G. H, Stoke-on-Trent

    5. “You don’t sound blind!”

    What exactly should a person who is blind sound like?

    "I was talking to a young man on the phone about getting my home contents insured, and during the conversation I mentioned that I was totally blind, to which he replied: 'Oh, you don't sound blind!' I just had to laugh."

    - K. M., Crayford

    6. Don’t mix up sight loss and cancer

    Yes, someone has actually done that. Losing your sight or being born blind is not the same as being diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness. Yes, your life might change, but it's just not the same thing.

    "My son is legally blind. He was 3 months old when we found out his diagnosis.

    Shortly afterwards an empathetic friend said: 'Oh gosh I am so sorry, it's like cancer! How are you and your family handling this?'

    I look back now and smile but at the time it was unsettling."

    - K. V., Brisbane

    7. Don’t refer to guide dogs as blind dogs

    Whilst we appreciate that a literal translation from another language might equal 'blind dog', in the UK we call them guide dogs. The dog is not blind, otherwise we might have a slight problem.

    "People often say I have a blind dog. I usually reply: 'if the dog's blind, then God help the pair of us!'"

    - G. H., Stoke-on-Trent

    8. Don’t try to communicate using sign language

    It just doesn't really work for people who can't see your hand signals.

    "When I lost my sight suddenly due to a medical condition my sister sprang in to action and declared 'don't worry, I'll get you sign language classes so you can still communicate with people'"

    - J. T., Salford

    9. Don’t ignore

    There's nothing worse than leaving a person with a visual impairment out of a conversation just because he or she cannot see. Without the ability to notice body language and other visual cues, it can be difficult to judge when to start speaking.

    Also, always speak directly to a person, not about them to the person they're with.

    "An annoying one is when people talk to the person you're with and ask a question about me. My voice still works!"

    - G. H., Stoke-on-Trent

    10. And finally…just don’t be a muppet

    Because being a muppet is not cool.

    "I was in Palma airport. My girlfriend mentioned at check-in that I was partially blind and asked if we could be fast tracked through security as I'm uncomfortable in crowds. They said it was no problem and someone was on their way to assist us. When the assistant arrived he was pushing a wheelchair for me. I then had to explain that it's my eyes that don't work properly not my legs haha."

    - M.R., Liverpool

    What do you think?

    Are you guilty of any of the above? Or have you been at the receiving end of the awkwardness? Please spill the beans...

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