Skill 1: Guiding Technique

Once the person indicates they would like your assistance, verbally offer your arm and brush it against their hand or arm.

The person being guided should lightly grasp the guide’s arm, thumb out, just above their elbow. The right elbow of the guide will be grasped by the left hand of the person being guided, and vice versa.

For children, have them grasp your wrist or hold your hand.

Relax and walk at a comfortable, normal pace. Stay one step ahead of the person you are guiding, except at the top and bottom of stairs and to cross streets, where it is recommended to pause.


 

Directions

There is generally no need to give directions, such as “We are turning to the left,” or “We are slowing down.” Since you are always a step ahead, the person being guided will sense the direction and speed you are travelling.

 

Change in terrain

If you see the terrain is about to change, for instance, you are about to go from concrete to grass or the sidewalk is about to slope down, you may pause to let the person being guided know that a change is about to occur. For the most part, no verbal indication is needed.

 

Curves and steps

When guiding an individual, always approach steps and curbs squarely and pause briefly before stepping up or down to indicate that your course is about to change.

The guide should pause at the first step and at each landing.

Pause briefly again when you reach the landing to provide the traveler with a cue that you have arrived. In stairs, when possible, the guide should position the person so their free hand is closest to the rail.

Giving verbal cues can be helpful as well, but is not always necessary.

 

Escalators

When using escalators, stop at the beginning of the escalator –the far end of the metal plate, and assist the person you are guiding to find the escalator’s rail. It is useful to mention if the escalator is heading up or down.

Once the traveler gets a hold on the rail, the guide should get on the escalator a few paces ahead of the person they are guiding. At this point, there is generally no need for further assistance or instructions. The traveler will know when to get off the escalator by feeling the way the rail levels off, as well as feeling the edge of the metal plate with their toes.

NOTE: When guiding a person who travels with a guide dog, it is important to remember to allow extra space between the human guide and the traveler, as guide dogs tend to leap off the escalators to avoid catching their toes on the edge of the metal plate.