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GUIDE.ME. – A study by Singapore Management University

GUIDE.ME., a nationwide study helmed by Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Senior Lecturer of Statistics, Ms Rosie Chng, gave us insights to the perceptions and views of people with vision impairment,and their mobility challenges in Singapore.

The study involved interviewing 3,733 sighted and legally blind Singaporeans across all postal codes in Singapore. These are the findings:

Perceptions

  • Almost half of the legally blind survey respondents (49%) do not feel they can be open about their vision impairment as they perceive others find them to be less competent than usual because of their vision loss,
    and that others feel awkward when they are around them
  • 45% of the legally blind survey respondents say they experience a sense of rejection, five times higher than the 9% of the sighted survey respondents who say they reject the blind

Public Transport and Mobility

  • 9 in ten survey respondents think that the public transport system should be more inclusive and efficient for the vision-impaired community
  • Half of the legally blind survey respondents think that the current rate of improvement of transport amenities is not good enough for them
  • Almost 65% of the legally blind respondents need a guide or public assistance when travelling
  • 6 in ten legally blind respondents face challenges when they ask for help in their mobility needs
  • When asked to choose the best mobility aid, the legally blind respondents chose “human guide” as their top choice, followed by “handphone with GPS or transport app” as a close second choice
  • 66% of the legally blind respondents feel lonely more often than usual during the pandemic

“The survey results will strengthen our push to encourage more clients, especially our seniors, to learn to use the smartphone and Apps comfortably, because human guides, though much more preferred, may be difficult to find and the person approached (if it is a stranger) may not now how to guide the person with vision impairment properly, a very common phenomenon.”

Ms. Tan Hwei Lan, Volunteer Director at Guide Dogs Singapore

We thank SMU, Ms Rosie Chng and the students who have contributed immensely to the study. The insights will be helpful for GDS to craft the contents of our programme and services as well as outreach and advocacy efforts.

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