Chris Uggen's Blog: what to do when you meet a sighted guitarist

Saturday, March 08, 2008

what to do when you meet a sighted guitarist

as the frustrated guitarist remarked at a jeff healey concert, "dude ain't blind, he's just unburdened by sight." with mr. healey's sad passing, i thought i'd share this joyous li'l clip (also feat. dr. john, omar hakim, and marcus miller) -- and a like-minded memo from margaret klein, our college's new hr director.

What to Do When You Meet a Sighted Person
by Kent Ireton (1999) in Minnesota Bulletin

People who use their eyes to receive information about the world are called sighted people or "people who are sighted." Legal "sight" means any visual acuity greater than 20/200 in the better eye with correction or an angle of vision wider than 20 degrees. Sighted people enjoy rich full lives, working, playing, and raising families. They run businesses, hold public office, and teach your children.

How Do Sighted People Get Around?
People who are sighted may walk or ride public transportation, but most choose to travel long distances by operating their own motor vehicles. They have gone through many hours of training to learn the rules of the road in order to further their independence. Once that road to freedom has been mastered, sighted people earn a legal classification and a driver's license, which allows them to operate a private vehicle safely and independently.

How to Assist a Sighted Person
Sighted people are accustomed to viewing the world in visual terms. This means that in many situations they will not be able to communicate orally and may resort to pointing or other gesturing. Subtle facial expressions may also be used to convey feelings in social situations. Calmly alert the sighted person to his or her surroundings by speaking slowly, in a normal tone of voice. Questions directed to the sighted person help focus attention on the verbal rather than the visual communication. At times sighted people may need help finding things, especially when operating a motor vehicle. Your advance knowledge of routes and landmarks, particularly bumps in the road, turns, and traffic lights, will assist the driver in finding the way quickly and easily. Your knowledge of building layouts can also assist the sighted person in navigating complex shopping malls and offices. Sighted people tend to be very proud and will not ask directly for assistance. Be gentle yet firm.

How Do Sighted People Use Computers?
The person who is sighted relies exclusively on visual information. His or her attention span fades quickly when reading long texts. Computer information is presented in a Graphical User Interface or GUI. Coordination of hands and eyes is often a problem for sighted people, so the computer mouse, a handy device that slides along the desk top, eliminates confusing keystrokes. With one button, the sighted person can move around his or her computer screen quickly and easily. People who are sighted are not accustomed to synthetic speech and may have great difficulty understanding even the clearest synthesizer. Be patient and prepared to explain many times the way your computer equipment works.

How Do Sighted People Read?
Sighted people read using a system called Print. This is a series of images drawn in a two-dimensional plane. People who are sighted generally have a poorly developed sense of touch. Braille is completely foreign to the sighted person, and he or she will take longer to learn the code and be severely limited by his or her existing visual sense. Sighted people cannot function well in low lighting conditions and are generally completely helpless in total darkness. Their homes are usually very brightly lit at great expense, as are businesses that cater to the sighted consumer.

How Can I Support a Sighted Person?
People who are sighted do not want your charity. They want to live, work, and play along with you. The best thing you can do to support sighted people in your community is to open yourself to their world. These citizens are vital, contributing members to society. Take a sighted person to lunch today!


At 8:14 PM, Blogger monsoon said...

thank you for sharing this!


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