Ever Wonder?
Is it okay to pet a guide dog?
There’s a lot that sighted people want to know when it comes to blindness. Learn some tips by playing our Blind Etiquette 101 game!

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Blindness FAQs
Get answers to questions you’re curious about.

Questions about Etiquette

  • Do blind people need help crossing the street?
  • Probably not. People with low vision develop skills for navigating the environment, and can likely cross the street unaided. But if you see someone who seems in need of assistance, always ask that person before helping. Never grab or pull someone across the street without warning. If they do accept your help, ask them how they prefer to be guided, and they’ll let you know. Learn More
  • Should I avoid words like ‘look’ and ‘see’ with someone who is blind?
  • There’s nothing at all wrong with using these words. People who are blind understand that words like “see,” “look,” and “watch” are used in everyday conversation as figures of speech. So it’s totally fine to say “See you later!” to someone who is blind (and you don’t need to avoid saying the word “blind” either). Learn More
  • Is it okay for me to pet a guide dog?
  • An emphatic “no!” (The kind of no you would say to a dog about to eat that slice of chocolate cake on the table). Service dogs are working, and shouldn’t be distracted. It’s okay to ask the handler for permission to greet their dog, but don’t push it if they decline. Learn More

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Questions about Perception

  • Can I learn what it’s like to be blind by wearing a blindfold?
  • Actually, that’s not a good idea. You might bump into things and hurt yourself, and you’ll likely conclude that it’s frightening and confusing to be blind. Wearing a blindfold will only give you the experience of suddenly losing your sight. It won’t help you understand what it’s like to have years of experience navigating the world with your other senses. Learn More
  • Do blind people have heightened senses, like Daredevil?
  • Someone who is legally blind must rely on other senses to explore the world around them – especially hearing and touch. That doesn’t mean they develop super-senses, like Daredevil. But it does mean they need to devote more attention to their other senses, and that their brains get better at interpreting non-visual information. Learn More
  • Do blind people understand what colors are?
  • That depends. Many people who are legally blind still have some color perception, or have memories of color from before their vision loss. But someone who was born completely blind will find it difficult to understand what color is. They will not, however, have any trouble understanding what colors mean — for instance, that ‘red’ can symbolize passion or love. Learn More
  • Do all blind people read Braille?
  • Nowadays, fewer than 10% of blind Americans can read or write in Braille. New technologies such as screen magnification, voice recognition software, computer programs that synthesize speech, and widely available audiobooks are rapidly making the 200 year-old tactile writing system seem obsolete. But many advocates argue that Braille is still an important literacy skill. Learn More

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