Title: Seeing through their eyes. Providing a more powerful public service for persons with a visual impairment in Aruba
Authors: Mieke De Droog
Addresses: Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Aruba, J.E. Irausquinplein 4, Oranjestad, Aruba
Abstract: What does a front-line service provider or policy worker know of persons with a visual impairment? How can he/she empathise with clients with such an impairment? The purpose of the current research is to gain insight into how to provide more valuable public service to visually impaired residents of Aruba. Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 32 respondents. The focus was on their day-to-day constructions of reality, taking in account both their life stories and the specific context. The data showed that emphatic, attentive interventions, acknowledging the value of experiences of persons with a visual impairment contribute to more powerful public service. Essential factors affecting experiences are the quality of the relations and encounters with front-line service providers and agencies due to helping and non-helping behaviour. Respect for differences between people and their own choices is essential in these interventions and the verbal and non-verbal behaviour of front-line workers.
Keywords: public services; front-line workers; empathy; attentive intervention; experiential knowledge; visual impairment; Aruba.
International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2021 Vol.12 No.2, pp.113 - 128
Accepted: 05 Mar 2021
Published online: 01 Sep 2021 *