Here is a recent article focusing on Grabbing of a Person who is Vision Impaired.
I am lucky that most people do not grab me, yet it has happened! Check out Jerked on the Subway…
I’m visually impaired, but it doesn’t give you the right to grab me
It’s a Monday morning and I’m about to board the train to work. As the doors open, and just as I’m about to step in, a hand shoots out, grabs my wrist and drags me into the carriage.
An hour later, I’m waiting at a pedestrian crossing, the beeps start to sound and suddenly a man takes my elbow and pulls me across the road.
I pop into a coffee shop. I’m waiting in the queue, then someone from behind grabs my shoulders and pushes me towards the counter.
It’s not even 9am and already three different people have grabbed me, pulled me and pushed me. This is a pretty standard morning, but why are all these people touching me without asking?
I’m visually impaired, I was born with sight loss and I’m registered partially sighted.
On a good day, I can see a couple of metres ahead of me, sometimes I can recognise a face, text on my phone or read a street sign.
On a bad day, if I’m tired, stressed or it’s really sunny I can only see blurry shapes and colours.
I started using a long white cane last year because my sight deteriorated and my life got busier. I had started falling over a lot and bumping into things on my commute into work, and it really affected my confidence.
I’ve even started having panic attacks because I get so disorientated and scared when people suddenly touch me without warning.
I didn’t want to go anywhere on my own. So I reached out to Guide Dogs who gave me lots of training on how to use a white cane so that I could safely navigate around London.
The white cane means that everyone understands that I need a bit of space, it gives me information through vibrations and sound, it bumps into objects before I do and it helps me judge the depth of steps or pavements.
I love my cane as it has really helped me regain my independence, but there is one negative that I’ve started to encounter. People keep grabbing me!
I know that people just want to help. However, being grabbed, pushed, pulled or even touched without warning is disorientating, frightening and sometimes even dangerous.
People who grab rarely help me and often achieve exactly the opposite. Imagine how it would feel if you were suddenly pushed across a road or pulled into a train carriage?
Now imagine how it feels if you can’t see where you are going or who is doing it! I’ve even started having panic attacks because I get so disorientated and scared when people suddenly touch me without warning.
People who grab me assume I can’t do something, when usually I’m absolutely fine. Remember I was born visually impaired and I’ve had the training!
Grabbing actually prevents me from being independent. The most helpful thing someone can do if they encounter a visually impaired person or any person with a disability is to just ask.
Sometimes I do need assistance and when I do, I can ask for help. I definitely always welcome polite and respectful offers of help.
Usually I say yes please, but if I say no please respect my decision.
If someone asks me if I want assistance I can tell them how best to support me, and this means they can assist me safely and positively.
I’m never offended by someone asking me if I’d like some help. Strangers give up their seats for me, help me find things in supermarkets, guide me across unfamiliar roads, and generally make my life a lot easier!
I can go to work, socialise and volunteer because I know I can rely on the kindness of others when I need it, but I don’t want to be stuck at home again because I’m too scared of being grabbed.
So if you see a visually impaired person with a white cane or a guide dog and you think they might need some assistance, just ask and please don’t grab!
Follow my #CaneAdventures on Twitter and learn more about how I navigate life as a visually impaired person
Here is the article for your reading pleasure… click here!
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