VisAbility launches Sighted Guide video

Do you ever feel awkward knowing how to best assist people with vision loss? If so, you’re not alone. It’s natural to feel you may be restricting someone’s independence by guiding them to get around.

With this in mind VisAbility has produced a new ‘Sighted Guide video’ which comes complete with audio description. It was produced in collaboration with Curtin University and offers some handy advice.

This short accessible video is online so a wider audience can view it.

“Your offer to guide someone will usually be welcomed but for some people with low sight, physical contact may be a problem. It’s best to ask if they’d like assistance,” said Andrew Lyons, Former Manager Partnerships and Development.

“Our advice is to introduce yourself, communicate clearly and listen to their response,” adds Andrew.

Collaboration with Curtin University

Andrew knew that Curtin University offered placements to its film students, so contacted Sally Goldrick, a lecturer in broadcast production on the Bachelor of Arts Media degree.

“When I received Andrew’s email, I thought it looked interesting. We receive a lot of requests for assistance to create videos, but not usually from not-for-profits, so immediately I thought yes, let’s get involved. It’s not that often you get to contribute to something as unusual as a sighted guide video.’’

Two final year students in Screen Art were assigned to the project, Georgia Wells and Krystal Butterworth. Together they drew up a comprehensive brief and selected the participants or so-called talent.

This included VisAbility’s Orientation and Mobility Officer, Amy Barrett-Lennard and Arts Therapy Assistant, Robyn Laycock. Three people, all of whom are legally blind were also involved in the project. They were VisAbility Youth Officer, Ryan Honschooten, Assistive Technology Officer, Emmanuel Lee and teenage client Jayde Abbott.

“I soon realised the importance of this project and what a great resource this would be. Meeting Ryan, Emmanuel and Jayde who are blind and hearing their own individual stories gave me a greater insight into the issues they faced,” explains Krystal.

“I totally agree, I really enjoyed our shoot days and it was so satisfying to know that I was part of something which was going to support others long term,” adds Georgina.

The filming took place at Araluen Botanic Garden in the Darling Ranges. There are seven sections to the final video so people can get a clearer understanding of better practises. Subjects include approaching people, changing direction and navigating narrow spaces.

“It was a great team project, it has a warm and light-hearted feeling. We had fun making it and that comes across,” adds Krystal.

Find out more about the Sighted Guide video on the VisAbility website