Ask, don't assume: The animated short film offers tips on how you should and shouldn't approach visually impaired people; © Harpreet Hakemzadeh
As almost any of the UK’s two million visually impaired (VI) will tell you, people with full sight often make incorrect assumptions about their capabilities. Now final year digital design student Harpreet Hakemzadeh from Brunel University London has produced a four minute animated short film designed to make both sides more comfortable which has received the enthusiastic backing of major charity the Royal London Society for the Blind (RLSB).
"I’ve relatives with sight loss and found that their experiences are pretty universal during my research," said Harpreet Hakemzadeh, 21, from Hounslow. "If you have a guide dog you can often find people talk to the dog but ignore the owner. Or when crossing the road a sighted person will grab their arm and rush them across."
The proper approach is to first ask the individual whether they require any assistance. "Most people want to be helpful but don’t communicate because they feel uncomfortable. But the issue is just a lack of understanding and awareness which my project addresses directly," said Harpreet.
"Vision impairment can make getting out and about hugely disconcerting and as we all know, the way that other people behave towards you has the power to make or break your day," said RLSB Chief Executive Tom Pey, who lost his sight almost 20 years ago. "Getting dragged across the road, or someone asking my dog Milo questions he clearly can’t answer, puts a dent in my day, just like those pushy commuters on the Northern Line in the morning. This is a great initiative which has the power to increase understanding of vision impaired people and our capabilities. People with disabilities are just that, we are people first. And any way of breaking down those barriers is very welcome."
The RLSB and Brunel will be heavily promoting the YouTube hosted video through social media and other channels over the next few weeks.
REHACARE.com; Source: Brunel University