The following resources may benefit your agency or the individuals that you serve. 

Young lady working on her computer

Time To Be Bold

Are you an individual who is blind or has low vision? Visit Time To Be Bold for helpful information. 

Courtesy Rules

Basic Information for Working with a Person Who Is Visually Imapired or Blind

  • Visual impairment is not always obvious. Visual conditions causing impaired vision present in many different ways, including blurry vision, significant glare issues, loss of central vision, peripheral field loss, and blind spots. People may “seem” to see some things fine and not see others at all. 
  • If you see a person who is visually impaired who seems to need help, offer your services. Identify yourself and let him know you are talking to him. Do not be misled. Before you decide a person who is blind or visually impaired is “confused,” be sure it is not due only to lack of orientation. They might just need information about where they are.
  • Always address the person who is visually impaired directly (using their name so they know you are speaking to them), and use a normal tone and speed of voice.  
  • When you enter the presence of a person who is blind or visually impaired, identify yourself. When you are ready to leave, tell them you are leaving. In a group, address a blind person by name if they are expected to reply.
  • When approaching a person who you suspect needs help in getting from one place to another, ask if help is needed. If help is desired, offer your arm so they can grasp your elbow. This position offers the greatest amount of information and security. Do NOT take their arm and propel them by the elbow. When walking with a person who is visually impaired, proceed at a nominal pace. You may notify them verbally or hesitate slightly before stepping up or down.
  • When accompanying a person who is blind or visually impaired into an unfamiliar room, never leave them standing alone in the middle of the floor. Escort them to a seat or place their hand on a “point of reference” such as a wall or table or chair.
  • Do not be over-protective. The person who is visually impaired should do as much as he can by and for himself. 
  • When giving directions, do not point. Try to be as specific as possible. For example, use directional terms (not “over there”).
  • When serving food to a person who is visually impaired. As you place each item on the table call their attention to it, and describe the location of each item. The clock method works well. For example, “your water is at 10 o’clock above your plate.” If they want you to cut their food or serve it from a casserole or platter, they will request that help.
  • When giving change/money to a person who is visually impaired, identify the denominations being given. Coins can be identified by touch. Help the individual (if asked) to organize their money.
  • Never move items around without first informing the individual who is blind. Persons who are visually impaired rely on memory and organization for maintaining their personal areas and knowing where things are located.
  • Words like “look,” “see,” and “blind” should be used without embarrassment with persons who are visually impaired.
  • People who are visually impaired and blind can do many tasks/jobs with the right accommodations. Specifically, if a person has done a task/job in the past they likely have muscle memory and ingrained skills. Modifications are often simple and inexpensive.

Download Courtesy Rules PDF 

Commonly Used Terminology

Commonly Used Terminology

Getting Started Toolkit from APH

Getting Started: A Guide for People New to Vision Loss

Helping Seniors with Visual Impairment

Helping Seniors with Visual Impairment Maintain Active Engagement in the Community

Vision loss can greatly affect the participation levels and safety of seniors experiencing difficulties with their vision due to age-related conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy. As people lose vision, they often isolate themselves and do not believe that they can still maintain an active, independent lifestyle. Different eye conditions affect the ability to see and function in varying ways. For example, macular degeneration affects central vision and the ability to read, see faces, and drive. Ask the individual how their vision is impacted or what they can and cannot see clearly. 

Tips to Adapt the Center and Help the Senior with a Visual Impairment

  • Use appropriate window coverings and adjustable lighting to limit glare
  • Paint door trim; replace covers on outlets and light switches; and put contrasting tape on steps to increase the use of contrast.
  • Avoid the use of throw rugs and low-lying furniture to prevent falls. 
  • Use at least a 14-point font on white or light-yellow paper for handouts. 
  • Provide enlarged, tactile versions of playing cards and board games. 
  • When walking with a senior with vision loss, offer your arm for the person to hold onto. Walk about 1/2 step ahead of the person to avoid objects in the pathway. This assistance is called “human or sighted guide.”
  • Talk directly to the person with vision loss, “What would you like to drink?”
  • Offer a tour and orientation to the facility, including how to find restrooms and point out landmarks that can be used to get around easily.
  • Describe the place setting and food arrangement on the plate in terms of a clock face. 
  • Use clear, verbal descriptions when giving directions. Not “over there.”
  • If you move things around, let people know. 

For more information on how you can enhance a senior’s experience and adaptation to their vision loss, visit


VisionAware provides extensive self-help information on adapting everyday activities and location helpful services and independent living resources for individuals with vision loss, their family members, and those who work with them. 

NOAH Information

NOAH serves the albinism community by providing information and support. 

Albinism - The word albinism refers to a group of inherited conditions.  People with albinism have little or no pigment in the eyes, skin, and hair (or in some cases in the eyes alone).  They have inherited genes that do not work correctly.  These genes do not allow the body to make the usual amounts of pigment called melanin.  One in 17,000 people has some type of albinism.  Albinism affects people from all races.  

Since the eye needs pigment to develop normal vision, people with albinism have impairment of vision because the eye does not have a normal amount of pigment.  Many People with albinism are legally blind.  People with albinism will sunburn easily because their bodies do not produce the pigment that protects the skin form the harmful rays of the sun.  Albinism may cause social problems because people with albinism look different than their families, peers, and other members of their ethnic group.

There are syndromic forms of albinism (HPS and CHS) which involve other medical issues such as problems with blood clotting, or problems with hearing. 


NOAH is a genetic support group that acts as a conduit for accurate and authoritative information about all aspects of living with albinism.  NOAH sponsors conferences, meetings and camps where people with albinism and their families in the U.S. and Canada can find acceptance, support, and fellowship.

NOAH Programs and Services

  • quarterly magazine – Albinism InSight
  • website –
  • parent books 
    • Raising a Child with Albinism: A Guide to the Early Years 
    •  Raising a Child with Albinism: A Guide to the School Years
  • biennial national conferences
  • New parent program:
    • Parent Liaison
    • Welcome Toolkit
  • Parent Connections Teleconference
  • Grandparent Connections Teleconferences
  • adult weekend
  • family camp 
  • annual leadership scholarship
  • annual Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students scholarship
  • outreach to doctors and educators
  • advocacy