Vision Disabilities


Vision Disabilities

People who live with visual disabilities (also known as low vision) or who are blind will usually benefit from accommodations that enable them to participate alongside sighted people in congregational life. Ask individuals what would be most helpful for them. Here are tips that many people with limited vision find helpful.

Tips on Vision Disabilities*

Routinely provide multiple format options for bulletins, song sheets, meeting handouts, etc. Seek to determine the format preferred by each person with a visual disability: large print, audio, digital text, or Braille. Add a notice in standard-format materials stating the alternate formats that are available.

Use simple, non-busy backgrounds on print materials, church website, and all  visuals that are projected on a screen.

Ensure that there is adequate lighting.

Identify yourself by name when you approach a person with a vision disability and tell the person when you are leaving the conversation or area.

Offer the use of your arm. If your assistance is accepted, the best practice is to offer your elbow and allow the person with the vision disability to direct you. Walk as you normally would.

Use descriptive phrases that relate to sound, smell, and distance when guiding a visually impaired person.

Guide dogs are working animals and should not be treated as pets.

Speak to the person with a visual disability, not to his or her companion.

Use a normal tone of voice. Curiously, people with vision disabilities often are shouted at.

*From Inclusion Handbook: Everybody Belongs, Everybody Serves, by Terry A. DeYoung and Mark Stephenson; abridged from “Basic Etiquette: People with Visual Impairments,” National Center on Workforce and Disability.”

Resources from others:

Woman reading braille Bible

Optasia Ministry offers Bible study tools and other Christian ministry resources in digital format to people with vision disabilities.

Tips for including people with low vision: "Using Computers for Inclusive Worship," by John Jay Frank.

Resources for people who are blind from Congregational Accessibility Network

RoboBraille​ is an e-mail service which can convert digital text documents easily into audio files. No cost for noncommercial use. It also can generate Braille files. Note that Braille files  require a Braille printer-embosser to create embossed, readable Braille. ​​

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