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Follow the White Cane

Is there a special way to recognize accomplishment and service regarding people with vision loss? Indeed, October 15 is the occasion for proclaiming “White Cane Safety Day”, dating as far back as LBJ in 1964. There’s so much to learn about the symbolic, fall-preventing, affordable white stick that also warns motorists THE CANE HOLDER has the right of way.

Catch the Vision suggest reading up on the issues,INCLUDING when to adopt the white cane, WHERE TO learn orientation and mobility, HOW TO express special vision needs, AND MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES. More broadly, the cane and the occasion encourage civic and governmental organizations to update their policies and physical environments.

Please post notices of White Cane day events in the comment section below. See you out and about on October 15!

white cane basics

  1. “Considering a White Cane” from Hadley.edu
  2. “Essential skills for living with low vision” from VisionAware.org
  3. Ten Fascinating Facts from Perkins.org

proclamation AND symbolism

  1. Proclamation for White Cane Awareness Day from NFB.org
  2. “White Cane Appreciation Day” from Hadley.edu
  3. White cane laws for states from acb.org
  4. “Raise Your Cane” appreciation at Minnesota Capitol from Blind Abilities podcast

And More

  1. “Orientation and Mobility” overview from Wikipedia
  2. White canes and albinism from LegallyBlondeBlind.com
  3. Venerable self-help advice from Support founder Dan Roberts

A White Cane At Work

Suppose someone dropped off a blue carton of bird seed in this woman’s driveway. Envision scenarios like these:

  • On her way to the trash can, she doesn’t expect any obstacles SO SEES THEN walks around or trips over … the blue package.
  • Leaving a car, with her cane unfolded in action, she senses the package and stops.
  • Her off-duty guide DOG CALLS ATTENTION BY SNIFFING THE PACKAGE. The dog on duty leads her around the package, or may block her path AND WAIT to BE TOLD where to walk.
  • Note that she sweeps the cane and senses an obstacle.

Now consider alternatives to the Bright birdseed delivery visible to people with many vision conditions. Picture walking into a sandwich board sign on a downtown street, a saw horse signifying a repair, an accidentally dropped package, a child, an outdoor dining table, a setting bench, … A person sweeping a cane has a safer way of walking than a person depending on defective eyesight. A guide dog provides avoidance and notification to an aware dog handler. Every object in a public area, a private hallway, or a shopping mall is a potential for a preventable fall. Further benefits include notices to drivers and bystanders plus increased awareness of special vision needs.
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Photo by Susan J. Hout of author Susan L. Gerhart

2 thoughts on “Follow the White Cane”

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