Who are you, part two

Megan McHugh, a good friend of mine from Toronto, made the following observations.  She is Deaf-Blind by Usher Syndrome 2, which means her vision and hearing deteriorated at the same time.  Ushers Two individuals often have Retinitis Pigmentosa.  More on Ushers and RP in another blog.

Megan says:

The “Who Are You?” game is very frustrating. Especially when people try
to make us guess who they are.

However, the simplest and smartest thing to do is to immediately
explain to the person that because your vision is not good, you don’t
recognize their face. Don’t assume that other people know what you see
or don’t see. If the person had a sign language conversation with you
then it is very obvious to them that you have a certain amount of
vision. It is NOT obvious to them that you cannot see their face
clearly.

Even if they should realize, people are focused on their own lives –
they are often not going to clue in to what’s going on with others.
Especially if they only met that person casually and have not seen
them often. People aren’t going to remember all the details about you
and your vision.

Save yourself a lot of hassle and frustration by simply saying
something like, “I have some sight, but it’s blurry. I can’t always
recognize faces. Please tell me who you are”. Don’t expect other
people to always be intuitive. Lots of people who are DB do have
enough vision to recognize faces, at least earlier on in the vision
loss process. A person may talk to another DB person and identify
themself and be told, “I know who you are, you don’t need to tell me,
I can see your face!” A DB person with better vision can get irritated
when people think their vision is worse than it is.

Unless you actually explain to them that you cannot see their face
clearly and therefore cannot recognize them, you are an equal
participant in the same frustrating game.

Thanks Megan!  That is excellent advice!

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