Well, I finished my first official Orientation and Mobility lesson. Simple really… Learn how to use the White Cane. Simple enough, you think? Well, yes, and no…

First off, let me remind you all again, I am NOT totally blind. I’m “Legally Blind”. I can see objects in my path and for the most part avoid them. I choose to start using the White Cane, to help me get around better in public places; places where other people may not know I have poor eyesight; like crossing a street, reading a menu, or basic crowed control.

Folding White Cane

Folding White Cane from AmbuTech

I feel like Moses parting the Red Sea some times, so the White Cane is useful, it does tend to make people move out of the way (most of the time) that is kind of cool.

In any case, my instructor Elaine took me to a local church to use their building for training. (Too damn cold outside!)… We used a long hallway to do basic skills, the first of which is to learn to walk in step with the cane…

With a little work, we got this down OK, with only a few mistakes. But you say, why, who cares? Walking in step is important… If I were totally blind I’d want the cane to have swept where my foot is goingto be  first. before I step.

The basic walking is: Right Foot – Cane Left, Left Foot – Care Right… or, the cane is always to the side of the trailing foot. Got it? good…

After this, we did door work… Again a technique… You bump the door with the cane; fine you know it is there, then what? Holding your cane as you normally would (like a golf club grip)… you rotate the wrist up and out to point the thumb down, and walk the cane flat to the door. Doing this allows you to flush the cane across the door to locate handles.

We did some other training in a large room, where she places some blinding glasses on me so I could not see any thing… She places some objects in my path, and it was my job to find them with the cane, and avoid them.

I must say, it’s NOT easy, and IS scary… Only you and a stick from walking head long into a chare or table. But I managed OK, and the drill was designed to show that you can trust the cane and what it tells you.

That’s it, that’s cane use 101… Stay tuned for more, but my next O&M won’t be till January and the new year. Thank you all for your support.

Tap, tap, tap, tap… Left, right, left right… Can you stay in step? 🙂

Do you know what the White Cane really means, and it’s history? Do you know why the White Cane is, white? You can learn more here

A white cane is used by many people who are blind or visually impaired, both as a mobility tool and as a courtesy to others. Not all modern white canes are designed to fulfill the same primary function, however: There are at least five different varieties of this tool, each serving a slightly different need. Learn more…

As a driver, do you know the White Cane Law? You should…
Do you know that October 15th is National White Cane Safety Day