in saying that a child I know who only has very limited vision, blind?

(78 Posts)
Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 05-Apr-13 14:25:04

For all intents and purposes the little girl is in my opinion, blind. She has extremely limited peripheral vision in one eye only, the other eye being a prosthesis.

When I said that she was blind, someone corrected me by saying "visually impaired". Genuine question: is it rude to call someone blind? Is it an offensive term??

AIBU to call someone blind when they are exactly that??

firesidechat Sat 06-Apr-13 08:42:46

Here here chaos unfortunately there seem to be a lot of people who seem to have an opinion but very little understanding of the topic.

So the fact that I have two blind parents (I am happy to use that term because they use it) doesn't count according to you. I have both an opinion and understanding, thank you.

Having said that, I would also use the term "visually impaired" if the person preferred it. As I mentioned before correct terminology seems to move on at a rapid rate these days and it's hard to keep up.

I don't see "blind" as offensive because it's just a description of a disability. Visual impairment is no more precise a description than blind surely? They both cover a range of sight.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 06-Apr-13 08:49:44

How do the parents and the child describe her condition?
VI Is the term to use as a default.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 06-Apr-13 09:16:57

Appletarts, you sound charming. Bet you have LOADS of friends and lovely stuff.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 06-Apr-13 09:19:51

MrsGB, your post was really helpful, thanks.

The little girl is question is partially sighted, so yes, I can see now that using the word blind would not be correct. I have not had the opportunity to ask her parents what term they prefer, and I honestly don't think that it is necessary at this stage. My query was out of interest and out of concern that I did not upset anyone or say the wrong thing by using incorrect language.

I was mildly concerned that I would be slated on AIBU by asking this question but fortunately only one belligerent moron took that route.

Couldonlyhappentome Sat 06-Apr-13 11:00:11

It's sight impaired or severely sight impaired ( what was partially sighted and blind)

Sorry if that's already been said! It's the terms we have to use at work

lougle Sat 06-Apr-13 12:56:05

I wonder if it would be easier to focus on what she can see? So if you were in a situation where you needed to describe her limitations, you can say 'Oh yes, X can see a little if you move the object to her side.'because for x, at this stage, it will be the function of her sight that is the important thing

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 06-Apr-13 15:08:12

Lougle, in my dealings with the little girl, I do focus my attention on what she can see - I take your point. My concern in this AIBU was on terminology as a means of describing her extremely limited vision.

The professionals don't actually know at this stage what she can see though clearly she is able to make out some things be it light or shape, I am not sure. She is still very, very young.

2rebecca Sat 06-Apr-13 15:14:48

I think partially sighted is more accurate in this case than visually impaired as it implies it's more than just needing a pair of specs.
Many politically correct terms can disadvantage those at the severe end of the spectrum because they are heard mainly in relation to milder conditions.
"Learning difficulties" gives you no idea as to whether the person has mild dyslexia or an IQ of 40.

lougle Sat 06-Apr-13 15:32:23

Sorry, allIwant, I'm not trying to be obtuse. I'm just not sure when or why you would be describing her extremely limited vision? Who would you be describing it to and for what purpose?

I volunteer at a special school in a class for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties. I don't know the actual diagnoses of half of the children I help - I don't need to. All I need to know is how their condition affects them in the activity I am doing with them, so I can help them as much as needed while promoting independence.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 06-Apr-13 16:43:07

"I'm just not sure when or why you would be describing her extremely limited vision? Who would you be describing it to and for what purpose?"

Lougle, when I was talking to someone that knows about the little girl, I said "the little blind girl I care for" and the person I was talking to said "er... visually impaired". So, I was wondering if I was out of line or rude or something like that. The person I was talking to did not know her name so I described her that way, knowing the other person would realise who I was talking about.

lougle Sat 06-Apr-13 18:31:39

Ah, thanks for clarifying. Do you care for lots of children, or is she the only child you care for? Could you have simply said 'the girl I care for?'

Couldonlyhappentome Sat 06-Apr-13 21:39:09

Learning difficulties and learning disabilities are two distinct things. To qualify as having a learning disability you usually have to have an iq of under 69 I think it is. Very very different to a learning difficulty.

(Just answering the earlier post)

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 06-Apr-13 22:33:05

I am a childminder and care for 12 children during the week - never all at the same time, though! (I am always within my numbers!)

This is a learning curve for me. The VERY last thing I want to do is fuck up somewhere along the line. I have been entrusted with the care of the little girl and I appreciate the trust that the parents have put in me.

PS I do not say "fuck" in front of the kids grin, but I most certainly do on MN.

Moominsarehippos Sun 07-Apr-13 10:09:06

I'd suss out what term the parents prefer to use. Whatever one you use, someone will tell you 'you can't say that!'.

In some instances a quick 'she's blind!' will be best option (if she is wandering too close to traffic, or someone starts having a go as her of she steps on their toe, etc). Blind, like deaf covers a fair amount of ground but people understand immediately what you mean when you use these words.

lougle Sun 07-Apr-13 10:53:16

Well in that case, I would err on the side of 'visually impaired' unless you are told that she is blind, because that is more accurate.

Moominsarehippos Sun 07-Apr-13 11:01:46

I'm not even sure what the term is these days. They do change so much. When I was studying it was 'blind' as not many people are 100% sight free - it can vary from seeing blurr/shadows to just being able to make out bright lights.

I would check with the parents. How much can she actually see? I would focus on that rather than what she can't see, and contact RNIB for info and educational toys/materials etc for her.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Sun 07-Apr-13 11:04:24

Do you actually need to say either? I'd be concerned if my cm was discussing my child with somebody else.
Especially if she said "the little blind girl" (or deaf in my dds case), the child is not defined by their disability.

Tortington Sun 07-Apr-13 11:05:55

good explanaition here hope this helps

I had to google it as i work with a partially sighted woman, and i call her 'partially sighted' not visually impaired - so went to check

Trills Sun 07-Apr-13 11:08:27

I would say that it is up to the little girl (or her parents seeing as she is only little) as to whether they are happy for the word "blind" to be used.

I'm registered as visually impaired - technically I'm partially blind as I have limited peripheral vision and things someone else can see at 15 or 18 feet (different in each eye) have to be at 6 feet for me to see clearly.

I use the term VI as that's what I feel fits best. I used to use partially sighted but constantly got asked which eye I'm blind in.

I think its personal preference a lot of the time.

shellbu Sun 07-Apr-13 12:06:44

yabu to say she is blind when you your self say she has limited vision , i dont get why you would say blind when she is exactly NOT .

TunipTheVegedude Sun 07-Apr-13 12:17:10

Just linking to my friend's blog about blindness, in case anyone is interested:
Blind Spot

She is partially blind but refers to herself as blind. I thought a high number of people who are registered blind actually have some limited vision.

fallon8 Sun 07-Apr-13 14:08:46

Most blind people have A little sight,only five per cent have no vision at all..Visually impaired is the correct term

makemineamalibuandpineapple Sun 07-Apr-13 16:33:02

I work for Bristol eye hospital and the correct term is sight impaired/severely sight impaired. On the certificate of visual impairment (which says your level of sight) you are either sight impaired or severely sight impaired. They no longer use blind/partially sighted on official documentation. FWIW only a very small percentage of "blind" people can't see anything at all.

RealityQuake Sun 07-Apr-13 17:01:46

How to identify is very personal, people who have similar levels of impairment will label it differently and it is their right to do so, so it would be best to ask the parents if the child is not able to themselves.

Blind is not offensive, so there is no reason for someone to correct you unless they themselves are involved, but technically it is only the far end of a very long spectrum. The reason sight impairment and visual impairment came in was to recognise this and to help people with lower level impairments to get help and recognition and raise awareness and as such sight impairment is the medical catch-all term for the spectrum to use until/unless someone gives a term that they prefer which of course trumps.

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