If you’re like me, asking for considerable assistance has never been an activity you particularly enjoy. In fact, it can be downright wearing-jeans-two-sizes-too-small uncomfortable, or at least the social equivalent. Furthermore, if you are newly visually impaired or your vision is declining, you are probably finding yourself in need of more and more assistance with activities that were previously effortless.
Instead of focusing on any embarrassment or discomfort in asking for help, focus your attention on creating a plan to relearn independence and negotiate assistance with tact and grace.
In effort to relearn independence:
- Utilize AFB’s Directory of Services to locate a nearby agency that teaches skills to people who are visually impaired. You can learn travel skills; living skills such as adaptive cooking and cleaning techniques; braille; assistive technology skills; and employment related skills such as disclosing a visual impairment and utilizing job accommodations.
- Ask others who are blind or visually impaired how they accomplish particular tasks without the use of vision. Seek career-specific counsel from CareerConnect mentor and pose questions on the CareerConnect message boards.
- Practice your newly acquired skills until they’re second nature, mastering one undertaking at a time.
You’re going to need assistance on occasion- who doesn’t?! To succeed in attaining assistance with minimal to no discomfort:
- Read the CareerConnect blog post Tips on Negotiating Assistance to learn about specific services that may meet your newfound needs. Service personnel include drivers, readers, scribes, sighted guides, and personal shoppers.
- Read The Art of Reciprocating Support and Favors to brush up on etiquette for negotiating assistance. You’ll learn to compensate others for their time and energy, helping them as they help you.
- Remember that people are social creatures that thrive in relationships. Your goal should never be complete independence, but a healthy interdependence. Meaning, it’s healthy to pay for services, compensate friends for assistance, and help others in areas of your strength.
You’re on a new, perhaps unexpected, journey. It’s wise to chart the course.
If you are a teacher or rehabilitation counselor working with consumers who are blind or visually impaired, utilize the Lesson Plan: Request, Accept, and Decline Assistance when teaching related information.