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  Sighted Guide Techniques
 
 
   The sighted guide technique provides the visually impaired person with a basic travel method using the physical assistance of a sighted person. The visually impaired person learns to interpret the elbow movements of the guide walking with him.
 
 
  Basic Technique
 
   The blind person always holds the sighted guide's arm (not vice-versa). The guide puts out her hand or arm to make contact. The blind person then takes her arm just above the elbow. This leaves the guide's hands free (for carrying, opening doors, etc.). With four fingers on the inside, and the thumb on the outside of the elbow, the blind person feels the motion of the guide's body.
 
   By flexing his elbow to about 90 degrees, the blind person stays a half-step behind the guide. This allows time to interpret and react to the guide's movements. To minimize his body width and to avoid moving beyond the protection of the guide, the blind person's flexed arm remains close to his body, with his shoulder lined up directly behind the guide's opposite shoulder.
 
 
 
  Stairs         
 
   The guide alerts the blind person that they are about to go up or down stairs. The guide approaches stairs squarely and pauses at the foot or head. The blind person may or may not wish to switch to the side with the handrail. The blind person brings his foot forward to locate the first step. The guide takes the first step and both proceed. As a cue that they have reached the bottom or top, the guide pauses again at the end.
 
   The process of pausing at tops and bottoms of stairways can be used effectively with street curbs as well.



 
  Narrow passage technique
 
   When there is not enough space for the blind person and guide to walk in the usual position, (e.g. narrow aisles, doorways, etc.), the narrow passage technique is used. The guide signals a change in position by moving her arm back and to the centre of her back. The blind person then steps behind the guide so the two are in single file.
 
   To prevent stepping on the guide's heels, the blind person straightens his arm, thus placing him a full step behind. After leaving the narrow passage, the guide signals by moving her arm back to the side and normal position is resumed.
 
 
 
  Adaptations for Deaf-Blind persons
 
   Many people who are deaf have balance problems. therefore it is important to determine if physical supports are needed. It is best to ask the person needing your help how you can help them - each person has different preferences.
  
Originally published by:
 
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
Public Affairs Ontario Division
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M4G 3E8

 
 
 The Basics
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Definitions
 
Communication Methods
 
Challenges
 
Sighted Guide
 
 
 
 

Basic Sighted Guide
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