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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??

2old2beamum Mon 08-Apr-13 18:18:26

Just to say my DS is HI and VI we belong to SENSE where he is called deafblind. Quicker and easier for people to understand than euphamisms.

lougle Mon 08-Apr-13 15:23:55

"I do not feel the need to justify why I was talking about her anymore or why I referred to her disability anymore. It is all irrelevant to the question I had asked."

Actually, it's central to it. The fact is, that it's quite rare to have to mention a distinctive characteristic of a person as their core 'person'.

By saying 'the blind/VI girl' you are stripping away her name, her personality...what makes her her.

It's not people being fussy or PC, it's simply making people aware that the language they use is not neutral.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Mon 08-Apr-13 13:49:37

"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."

FrustratedSycamore, I was talking about the child to my childminding mentor and support person from my local Authority. The child has been placed with me by the local authority through their funding programme for early years children with additional needs of all sorts.

I was not idling chatting about some kid. I was legitimately and professionally sharing information about a child in my care and sharing information on how well she was settling in and how much good the programme was able to do for children with additional needs of whatever sort. FFS.

Thanks everyone, for all the input. I am not going to respond anymore to to further replies, but I really do appreciate the well meant guidance that I have been given. I do not feel the need to justify why I was talking about her anymore or why I referred to her disability anymore. It is all irrelevant to the question I had asked.

Thanks for the sensible replies to those that make them.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 .

LollipopViolet Sun 07-Apr-13 11:13:08

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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)

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?'

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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