Human Guide Techniques

In this training module, we would like to cover certain scenarios that you may encounter sooner or later while going about your day at APH.

We believe that this information will help you feel more comfortable in some situations when interacting with your co-workers or with APH guests who are visually impaired.

What are Human Guide Techniques?

Human Guide Techniques are techniques used to guide a person in an unfamiliar place. This module will show you some skills that will come in handy when assisting someone to walk through doors, narrow spaces, or when assisting someone to locate a chair, a table, or your automobile door.

To better illustrate these skills, let us explore a couple of situations within the context of an APH day.


You are walking down the hallway near the HR department and you see a person who seems to be having trouble finding where to go. They could be:

  1. A co-worker heading to a meeting room he or she’s never been to before
  2. A person separated from a group taking a tour
  3. Someone who knows where they are heading, but while in deep thought decided to head back to their office, but wait a minute, they will get a snack before the cafeteria closes, oh, but did they bring their wallet?

What to do? Here is what we suggest:

Offering Assistance

A good start is to say hi and offer assistance. For instance, “Hi, I’m Stacey. I work in HR. Can I assist you with anything?”

Scenario 1 – your co-worker looking for a meeting room and using a cane:

This co-worker may say, “Hi Stacey. I’m Rick. I’d like to know where the first floor meeting room is. I was told it was the third door on the left, but I don’t know if I already passed it.”

Here is where you offer your arm, opposite the side where the person is holding their cane, and show off your Guiding Technique.

Note: Each one of the 6 skills open in a new window. After reading the information, close the window (keyboard command Control + F4) to come back to this page and continue reading.

SKILL 1: Guiding Technique Info and Video., opens in a new window

That was straightforward. You assisted your co-worker to the entrance of the meeting room. Your co-worker thanked you and said he would be fine from there.

Scenario 2 –a tourist with a guide dog:

The person in this case is a guest who was separated from a group taking a tour. In this instance, you may need to go upstairs, or get in the elevator to assist him finding his friends. You will probably need to use a couple of extra skills.

After offering your arm opposite where the person is holding the guide dog’s leash, you head down the hallway chatting with the tourist. All of a sudden, your path narrows down. Between you, the tourist and the guide dog, there is no way you will all fit through the narrow space on the hallway. So, easily and simply, you put your arm slightly behind you. A technique used when going through narrow spaces.

SKILL 2: Navigating Narrow Spaces, Crowds, or Doorways Info and Video, opens in a new window.

The visually impaired person sensed the shift in your arm, and all three of you went through successfully.

No problems so far. However, now you are heading to a place where you will encounter closed doors. This can get slightly tricky. Some doors swing to the right, some doors swing to the left, some open inward, others outward. Have no worries. We are here to help.

First, a piece of advice: You have been told all your life that the polite thing to do when accompanying someone through a door is to let other people go through the door before you do. Although this would be a very polite gesture, when you are a human guide, you always try to remain a step ahead of the person you are guiding, so here is the way to do it.

SKILL 3: Going Through Doors, and Accessing Elevators Info and Video, opens in a new window.

As you come out of the elevator, you hear someone saying “Hey Alex, where did you go?” The tourist has found his group. He joins it and goes on to explore the museum with the rest of her friends. Happy ending!

Scenario 3: A co-worker who could not decide where to go.

Let us explore the last scenario. Your co-worker was deep in thought and turned around 3 times before deciding to get a snack. Of course, you did not know he really knew what he was doing, so you offered assistance and he politely said “No thanks. I know where I am going, I was just trying to decide what to do first.” He heads to the cafeteria. You decide to get some tea while you are downstairs, so you follow him. After both of you get your drinks, the person finds the cafeteria to be crowded. he asks if you can please assist him in finding an empty seat. You say “Sure!” and after offering your arm, you use some new skills to show him an empty table and chair.

SKILL 4: Showing a Table or an Available Seat Info and Video, opens in a new window.

At the end of your busy day, you meet with Jordan, whom you ride with on Mondays and Fridays. You talk about the UK – U of L game, and tell her about the very interesting  new exhibit in the museum. When you get to the spot in the parking lot where you parked , you use another Human Guide skill:

SKILL 5: Assistance Locating an Automobile Door Info and Video, opens in a new window.

Jordan gets in the passenger seat while guide dog Carlton lays comfortably on the floorboard. TGIF!

Additional Technique

The final technique we’d like to mention comes handy when you find yourself guiding multiple people. Although this may happen very seldom, we’d like to show you the best way to handle this situation so you can feel comfortable at all times.

SKILL 6: Guiding Multiple Travelers Info and Video., opens in a new window