Well it was raining and cold outside so today’s lesson was again at the local mall. So that is where Elaine and I headed today, a bit puzzled as to what she possibly may have me do.

Mobility instructors like to play pretend to educate and prepare there students for the next step, and it is kind of fun. So today Elaine played the role of a bus or Paratransit, which ever you would prefer.

With instructions and a task for me to do. The task was to be dropped off ALONE at the main entrance to the mall (an area where a bus would normally stop), enter, and make my way to Borders Books… ask the clerk for a book price, and if it was in, (sorry I forget the name of the book.)… Navigate out, and threw the mall, and meet Elaine at Friendly’s and the entrance to Boscov’s…

So off I set on my mall adventure. Not hard you think, but you must remember, I’m not use to being alone in such a large place, I’m always with friends, family, or mom. This time it was up to me, to navigate myself it’s a bit nerve-racking .


I navigated myself threw Dick’s Sporting Goods, (the main entrance), then into the mall… located Borders Books (only a short walk from Dick’s.) and I entered the book store. A nice clerk asked me right away if I needed help finding something, so I asked about the book and got the information Elaine asked for.

The first task complete, I exited and set off for Friendly’s all the way on the other side of the mall. Our local mall is not huge, but it was a good walk away. I had to navigate some steps and make a turn to head near Friendly’s, thankfully it was not crowded at 2PM on a Wednesday afternoon. I did know where I was going, after all this IS our local mall…. And there was Elaine waiting for me… (Sorry no ice cream though!)…

The lessons second half took place in Boscov’s, at the steps… We reviewed cane step technique. We then talked about escalators, and noted how the steps move, and the sounds they make.

EscalatorHere come them blinder glasses again… Elaine lead me around the store a bit using sighted guide technique to “get me lost“… and we approached the escalators again… by sound I knew we were close… Feel the rail she says, it’s pulling away, extend the cane and feel it catch the moving steps and how it pulls away; lift-click, lift-click, lift-click, as it lifts the cane. We must be going to head up… We did… Cool!

Now we walk around a bit again to confuse me, remember with the blinder glasses I cannot see at all. We approached the escalator again, feel the rail, it’s pulling away… we know at least it’s not the down escalator or it would be “pushing” us not “pulling“… I extend the cane to feel it catch the moving steps and how it pulls away; pull-tap, pull-tap, pull-tap… wait a minute, something’s different…

Elaine explained that sound and the LIFT of the cane is the key… Either escalator will pull you on, but how do you know if you are going upstairs or downstairs, escalator on-platforms are flat… Going up you’ll hear the pronounced CLICK as the cane LIFTS AND DROPS on each step. For a down escalator you will hear more of a TAP then a click, and the cane won’t be lifted, just be pulled… A eureka moment for sure! We went up and down a few more times, with no trouble.

The elevator lesson was very short. Only to mention that most elevators beep or chime for each floor you are on, and to count the beeps to determine what floor you’re on. Since our Boscov’s only has three floors, counting the roof parking, we will need to review this lesson in a bigger building and a better functioning elevator.

With tasks complete, I was told to navigate back threw the mall again, alone, but this time meet Elaine at TGI Friday’s… And while I’m at it, stop in, and ask for a take-out menu. So off I set. – Not many problems, I made one tiny wrong turn, but realized it right way, and made it OK. Popped in, asked for a menu, and met Elaine at the door. – Be noted, I didn’t care for inside Friday’s it’s kind of dark, and bar like, I dislike dark restaurants, it’s even harder for me to see.

compusI then navigated AGAIN back threw the mall to Dick’s Sporting Goods to meet Elaine, and we left… In all this lesson went well, and Elaine says I am picking things up very fast. With hopefully nicer weather next week, we will do more street work, as that is where I still need the most help.

As for roaming the mall by my self, my comfort level was around a 3 out of 5, even though it was our local mall, I am still not use to navigating large places by my self. We will work on this. Elaine says we just need a bigger mall! – Oh joy! Yes it’s true, we do have the King of Prussia Mall here in PA, and it’s the largest shopping mall on the East Coast of the United States… Crap… – Well, at least there is an Apple Store in there!

Till next time! Please as always feel free to leave your comments!