Guiding your customers who are deafblind

This resource was developed for people who work in service environments, such as shops and stations, where they may come into contact with deafblind customers.

You may need to guide a customer who is deafblind around while you are serving them.

A man being guided along the street by a woman

Do

  • Offer your arm for the person to hold so they can follow you
  • Let them hold stairs handrails. Walk in front to guide them
  • Take care not to bump them into anything

Don’t

  • Grab, push or pull a person who is deafblind. This could cause alarm or an accident
  • Hurry the person
  • Suddenly change direction. People who are deafblind often have problems with balance

If you are taking a customer through a narrow space or doorway, move the arm they are holding onto gently behind you. As the person feels the movement of your arm they will move behind you.

When you are showing a person to a seat, put their hand on the arm or seat of the chair and let them sit down. Please don’t try to push them into the seat.

Important points

  • Keep floor space, aisles, doorways and stairs clear of boxes or rubbish so that a person with sensory impairments will not trip over them
  • If fire alarm is raised, check for any customers who may not see people leaving or have heard it
  • Try not to wash floors when customers are around. People who are deafblind can’t see a slippery surface, caution signs, or hear a shouted warning

First published: Monday 14 May 2012
Updated: Thursday 22 June 2017