Visual Awareness

There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding being blind or partially sighted. In this video the group talks about common attitudes and personal experiences.

Coming to terms with having sight loss can be difficult. Dealing with the emotional and practical impact of changes to your sight can be overwhelming. A crucial part of this journey is the positive perceptions and supportive attitudes of other people.

Click the play button to access the discussion

The first step towards gaining empathy with people who have sight loss is having some insight into their experience of accessing services. These videos address some of the challenges faced by blind and partially sighted people when accessing everyday services with a particular reference to libraries, colleges and banks.

Click the buttons below to access the Personal Impact Stories.

visiting the library

In this video Margaret talks about her experience of accessing her local library as a partially sighted person and offers some tips which she feels will help make the service more inclusive.

Click the play button to hear Margaret's story. 

Video about Margaret's visit to the library Margaret's Story Download Transcript   download

Key Points

  • Introduce yourself to your service users. “I’m Mary and I’m the librarian.”
  • Anticipate that your library member needs assistance. It’s nice to know that someone is there to offer help.
  • If there are changes to layout or obstacles let your service users know.

Associated Resources

In this clip Ann Marie talks about her experience of accessing her local college as a partially sighted student. She identifies some of the key barriers in accessing the course and offers hints and tips to college staff and students on how to be more inclusive for students with eye conditions.

Click the play button to hear Ann Marie's story.

Video about Ann Marie at college Ann Marie's Story Download Transcript   download

Key Points

  • Meeting the student and identifying their learning support well in advance to starting the course is a positive starting point.
  • Ask the student about their preferred format when accessing learning resources and course notes e.g. large print or audio.
  • Offer a sighted guide to meet and greet during college induction.

Associated Resources

In this video Sean talks about his experience of accessing bank services as a blind customer. He identifies some existing challenges as well as potential improvements that could be made to help overcome these.

Click the play button to hear Sean's story.

Key Points

  • Online banking offers greater accessibility for blind and partially sighted customers.
  • Accessible Talking ATMs provide greater confidentiality and independence.
  • Staff awareness and assistance is always welcome.

Associated Resources

Video about Visual Awareness in practice Visiting the Library Download Transcript   download

Derry/Londonderry Central Library became the first library in Northern Ireland to achieve RNIB Northern Ireland’s Model of Excellence award. The award reflects the library’s excellent work over the last two years in making their services accessible to blind and partially sighted people, including staff training and the installation of technology to make computing facilities accessible.

This video demonstrates best practice when accessing library services including:

  • Introduce yourself by stating your name and your role.
  • Ask the person if they require assistance and, if so, ask how they wish to be assisted.
  • Access to Audio books, magnification and assistive technology.

Click the play button to watch the scenario. 

Contact Details

RNIB NI Head Office

RNIB Northern Ireland
Victoria House

15-17 Gloucester Street
Belfast, BT1 4LS.

Telephone: 028 9032 9373

International Telephone: +44 28 9032 9373


Website: RNIB NI Head Office

NCBI Head Office

Whitworth Road
Dublin 9

Telephone: 1850 33 43 53

International Telephone: +353 1 830 7033

National Technical Support Number: 1850 92 30 60

Fax: 01 830 7787


Website: NCBI Head Office