Today Wiley and I went to one of my favourite type of talks – an education talk for new bus drivers. I love these talks as I am given an opportunity to share with drivers how they can assist their passengers who are blind or vision impaired.
As with the taxi talks I try to get a few important messages across. Firstly I make sure they know Guide and other service dogs are allowed on all forms of public transport and they mustn’t talk to, pat or feed a dog in harness.
I also explain about the different types of eye conditions and demonstrate a range of mobility aids including canes, mini guides and of course Guide Dogs. I explain that vision loss is unique to each individual and not to make assumptions or judgements about people who use a Travel Pass or mobility aid.
Really the best way for anyone to find out if a vision impaired person needs assistance is to simply ask them. This works well for bus drivers as well as the general public. I cover a range of practical things they can do like tell the passenger their bus number, help them find an empty seat or let them know when they are at their stop.
I finish the talks by letting the drivers experience vision loss for themselves, either under blindfold or using vision loss simulation glasses. I give them a cane and ask them to find their way out of the room and down a corridor.
Todays talk was to a great group of six students. After the students had found their way back to the classroom I asked if anyone wanted to say hi to Wiley. They were very keen so I took Wiley out of his harness so he could get some pats and attention. It is a little reward for him being so good and quiet during the class.
Other than the bus talk this week we have also done a taxi talk, been photographed for an assignment, ventured into the city for a coffee with my sister and picked up some parcels at the Dickson post office – quite a busy week really.