When greeting a person with a severe loss of vision, always identify yourself and others who may be with you. For example: “On my right is the bus assistant, Mrs. Jones.” When conversing on the school bus, give a vocal cue by announcing the name of the person to whom you are speaking. Speak in a normal tone of voice. Indicate in advance when you will be moving from one place to another. Let it be known to the visually impaired rider when the conversation is at an end.
If a visually impaired rider does not extend a hand to shake hands when greeting, extend a verbal welcome. For example: “Welcome to Bus 66.” When offering an assigned seat, place the rider’s hand on the back or arm of the bus bench seat. A verbal cue is also helpful: “Here is your seat beside Johnny Smith.”
Other reasonable accommodations for visually impaired students include:
• Rehearsing verbally with rider the pickup points, departure times and other details while en route.
• Informing the rider of the direction of the exit relative to the destination.
• Providing information about any special conditions or hazards.
• Allowing the student to dictate what level of assistance he or she needs.
Source: Special-Needs Transportation Handbook, Dr. Ray Turner, www.whitebuffalopress.com