Tag Archives: blind & partially sighted people

What Lockdown means for blind & partially sighted people

What Lockdown means for blind & partially sighted people

What coronavirus crisis means for blind and partially sighted people

 original post by theconversation.com

If a well-meaning neighbour offered to do your lockdown shopping, would you be brave enough to ask for a bottle of sherry and a bag of cheese and onion crisps? Visually impaired campaigner Anna Tylor did just that, as she describes wryly on her blog.

Anna was struggling to get her usual supermarket delivery slot as blind and partially sighted people in the UK are not classified as “clinically extremely vulnerable” so are not automatically entitled to food parcels, priority supermarket deliveries or help with basic care needs.

Aside from diabetes, the commonest causes of visual impairment in Europe are age-related macular disease, inherited retinal diseases, and glaucoma. These conditions affect only the eyes and do not cause greater susceptibility to COVID-19 or any other communicable disease. But consider the challenges faced by a visually impaired person going to a supermarket during lockdown.

New challenges

Most people registered as sight impaired have some vision. With magnifiers or high powered glasses, they can often read price labels and packet descriptions – but only from a couple of centimetres. Many use smartphone apps to read printed text aloud, or barcode scanners to identify products. Braille readers need to touch packets to read labels.

These techniques maintain independence in normal times. Now, though, many visually impaired people are concerned about having to touch multiple items, moving them closer to their eyes, and spending longer in a potentially virus-laden environment.

Supermarkets usually allow a staff member to accompany a visually impaired person around the shop. Now, though, this would mean spending more time in close contact with a potential asymptomatic carrier. Social distancing is even more difficult for people with reduced hearing as well as bad eyesight. It is far harder to hear someone from two metres away than from 50 cm, and there are worrying reports of tactile interpreters for deafblind people not being available in healthcare settings.

Kelly Carver, a man in his 50s who has progressively lost vision due to retinitis pigmentosa, told me about social distancing with a white cane.

I guess as a low vision person, I have the right of way and people need to heed the 6ft distance from me. Still, that’s not particularly comforting. I don’t want to foist that upon others.

At home, people who can’t see well and live alone face challenges in reading use-by dates, checking cooking instructions on a food packet, or making sure they’re taking the right dose of medication.

Those with tech skills and good internet connections might use video-calling, artificial intelligence apps such as Seeing AI or crowdsourced assistance like BeMyEyes. Inclusive design means new technology has been widely adopted by people with visual impairment. However, people without these devices might rely on volunteers from sight loss charities, many of which are no longer offering home visits.

Sending the wrong signal

But some people with visual impairment don’t want to have special dispensations made for them. A fit and healthy 21-year old woman who happens to have poor vision may not want to be included on a list of the most vulnerable people in the country.

When only one in four blind or partially sighted people is in employment, and nearly 40% of visually impaired graduates are out of work, classifying people who don’t see well as being in need of more support might send the wrong signal to employers and wider society.

Anna Tylor is worried about the competing needs of people at high clinical risk from Covid-19 and those vulnerable from sight loss:

I’m horrified that disabled people have been displaced by “vulnerable groups”, thus creating a two tier vulnerable system.

Some help is available. If people with visual impairment can get through on the phone to their supermarket they can ask to be put onto a priority delivery list. Staff in shops will still help on request, usually separated by the length of a trolley.

The London Taxicard scheme has been extended to pick up and deliver essential supplies. Neighbours, communities and mutual aid groups will help with essential shopping and safe social contact.

How can you best help someone with visual impairment during lockdown? #AskDontGrab, as blind Twitter users emphasise. Give people distance if you think they’re struggling to see you. Don’t shout at people who accidentally encroach on your space. Announce who you are, and tell people when you’re leaving so they don’t end up speaking into thin air.




Instructional Videos on Object Control Skills NWABA

 Videos on Object 
Control Skills for Blind & Partially Sighted People

Instructional Videos on Object Control Skills for Blind & Partially Sighted People

The purpose of the video resource library from the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes is to support athletes, teachers, families and community members in implementing instructional strategies when working with individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
NWABA  is helping educators build the foundational knowledge needed to teach individuals who are blind and visually impaired object control skills, including, catching, kicking, overhand throw, stationary dribble, striking a stationary object and underhand roll.

Object Control Skill: Catching


Object Control Skill: Kicking

Object Control Skill: Overhand Throw


Object Control Skill: Stationary Dribble


Object Control Skill: Striking


Object Control Skill: Underhand Roll

Supporting Documents: Link Here

Northwest Association for Blind Athletes Website: https://nwaba.org/


US Based Info

If you are US based you can find out more about NWABA’s adapted equipment lending library, the full video resource library and their PE consultation support in the video below.

NWABA Resources: Sports Adaptations Program Introduction

If you need documents in another format, more advanced instructional strategies, equipment, or consultation support, please contact Kirsten French, kfrench@nwaba.org, 360.859.3116.



Tactile Paving Survey!

Tactile Paving Survey- Closes on the 24 July

The Department for Transport is presently in the process of considering changes to the document Guidance on the Use of Tactile Paving Surfaces, and have commissioned TRL and Urban Movement to understand more about the understanding of tactile paving by blind & partially sighted people, and also people with other disabilities such as wheelchair users or those with mental health conditions or non-visible disabilities.

The results of this study may be used to improve this guidance document, which would feed through into better on-street provision.

A questionnaire has been created online – Link below


The questionnaire closes for responses on 24th July 2019.

We might encourage that any individual who encounters a difficultly with completing the online questionnaire either elicit the assistance of friends/family

Should you be unable to complete this survey online, please call during office hours on 01344 770098 or 01344 770831 and ask to complete the Tactile Paving User Questionnaire.