Sunday, April 5, 2009

Doctor, I Can Hear You!

This is one of my pet peeves: Doctors who find it more efficient to talk over my head or to the person accompanying me to my appointment. You would think that part of their training would include teaching physicians how to interact with persons who are sight impaired, but it seems not to be the case. So many of my clients continue to complain about the total lack of bedside manners when it comes to doctors being able to interact with them. At the best of times doctors do not really know how to interact with their patients, but when you are sight impaired it makes things even more difficult.

As someone who has had to spend a lot of time in doctors’ offices, I can tell you that they really need to learn how to treat those of us who are sight impaired. Sometimes they create an impression of either not being able to communicate with us or they do not believe that we are capable of understanding. I have had doctors who prefer to talk to my mom rather than me, even though I'm an adult! I have had others who ignored my questions, and still others who have walked out of the office at the end of an appointment without even bothering to say that the appointment was over.

So many times I wish that I could say, "Doctor I am here! I am the patient and you can talk to me. I can hear you and I can compute!" I often wonder why is it that so many doctors have difficulty communicating with those of us who are sight impaired. At the best of times they have difficulty communicating with the mainstream patient but for us my opinion is as follows.

The eyes are what the rest of the world uses to communicate and when there is a situation whereby the eyes are unable to communicate, then all hell breaks loose and everything goes haywire. Blind and visually-impaired persons are unable to use their eyes to communicate. So, what is the solution? More education and more awareness training.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your accessibility and special-needs business consultant urging you to go out there and tell the rest of the world that they can communicate with blind and visually impaired persons in ways other than through the eyes. To learn more, you can visit www.nfb.org.

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