I am currently supervising a visually impaired student. I noticed that quite often I use phrases such as "from X, we can see that Y" or ask the student to "read paper X" or "you need to look at your maximization problem", etc.. Once the sentence hangs in the room I immediately feel awkward. The student is of course capable to perform what I mean. The student can understand that "from X follows Y", can "listen to paper X", can "revise the maximization problem", etc.. Nonetheless, I wonder what the guidelines in such situations are. Should I refrain from using these words? How would a student who is visually impaired want to be treated?

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    That's an "ask two blind people, get three answers" question. It depends on the person. Most of the affected people I know are in the "say whatever you want, just don't oblige me to soothe your awkward feelings" camp, but they're also low-vision, not blind. – nengel Dec 5 '17 at 7:30
  • Some blind people I know deliberately use seeing-related phrases, like "You should have seen his face!" – lighthouse keeper Dec 5 '17 at 7:39
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    When you "see" that Y follows from X, do you literally "see" something with your eyes? "See" has several meanings. – user9646 Dec 5 '17 at 8:36
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    Those are all "non-literal" uses of your eyes. In my experience they should be fine and no reason to feel awkward. Anecdotally, I had a blind person studying with me and once was sitting with him and other together, solving assignments. He was great at maths. At one point I turned to him for help saying "could you look at that real quick". He smiled and answered "Sure, but that won't help." After I apologized he said that it was actually more of a compliment, that I was seeing him as any other person. – skymningen Dec 5 '17 at 9:35

They want to be treated as normal - so phrases like “it can be seen that the result changes X “ are fine but “ take this and divide by this” are not if you are pointing at numbers for example.

One of my friends who is in a wheelchair will say "I walked down to..." it's just part of "normal" conversation...

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