Staff training - Southend Library
Staff at Southend Libraries have received Visual Awareness training to help them give good service to blind and partially sighted people. Visual Awareness training covers can cover the following:
- information about different eye conditions
- how to communicate effectively with blind and partially sighted people
- guiding visually impaired people
- information on mobility aids
- how the built environment can affect someone with a visual impairment
- tips to make the environment more accessible
- practical impact of the Disability Discrimination Act.
Part of visual awareness training is the use of special glasses that simulate various eye conditions. They are designed to give sighted people an impression of what its like to have a sight problem.
Carol McArthur is the assistant library manager at Southend Central Library:
"To put yourself in someone else's hands, to be guided, was really quite scary."
Carol felt that the training helped her when guiding blind and partially sighted people around the library.
For example, if you see someone with a sight problem who may need help, you should introduce yourself, make sure the person knows who they are speaking to, explain who you are, and ask if assistance is needed. Let them state what kind of help they may need.