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.

Photo by Susan J. Hout of author Susan L. Gerhart


AZ Tech Access Program Conference Report

What was AZ TAP 2022?

This trip report identifies useful state-wide activities by professionals working in Vocational Rehabilitation and their benefits to citizens with disabilities. As a low vision attendee, I appreciated the $50 virtual admission that offered 11 zoom sessions from three dozen general and break-out presentations.

The conference was well-organized and on target. The learning practices suggested a better controlled working environment for me as a heavy-duty technology user. I now understand how accommodation and rehabilitation organizations operate and could improve life for people limning in the wider Prescott area. I will follow up the on-site technology list for new products and services.

Technical Topics(1) neuro-diversity broadening participation in science and technology; (2)working memory and executive function techniques for efficient web work; (3)writing in simpler language everywhere; (4) making documents, especially PDF, meet accessibility standards. Every organization serving people with disabilities needs expertise in these areas for better practices.

Other talks addressed how disability and vocation rehabilitation services operate, notably the employer-worker accommodation process. A key resource is the Arizona Disability Law Center for answering questions and assisting accommodation communications.

Cultural Topics

An introductory talk honoring Juneeteenth reprised the Buffalo soldiers service. Differences in tribal vocational rehabilitation practices were represented by two dozen specialists. Issues include: (1) many indigenous languages do not have a word for “disability” and (2) practices are broader than federal and state operations.

A wrap up by author Emily Ladow delved into basics of living with disabilities from her book “Demystifying Disability”. She identified a “curb cut principle for Covit” where lessons apply to the pandemic based on disability experience and concepts. Plus, she introduced the practice of speaker self-description for vision limited attendees.

Links To Organizations


Tips For Living With Low Vision for YC OLLI

Tips For Living With Low Vision

Yavapai College OLLI, Workshop R, February 22 2021


  • Susan- computing, education, Accessibility slger123@gmail.com.
  • Donna – Rancher, investor, pastor DBenny39@gmail.com.
  • “Catch the Vision” — “Low Vision Techies At Your Service”.
  • Our helpers – Donna’s Havana (black lab) and Susan’s Corky (white retriever).

We prefer “Low Vision” term versus “macular degeneration”, “visually impaired”, “legally blind”, “visually disabled”, etc.

Caveat: Our tips are social, educational, not so medical and mostly not covered by Medicare.

Simple Every Day Gadgets

  • Mark things with tactile adhesive “dots” from hardware and office stores.
  • Keep files organized with Pen Friend “talking labels”.
  • Orient yourself through multi-colored, motion sensitive wall lights.
  • Apply your contrast sense (e.g. yellow?) for surfaces and things.

Communication and more

iPhone = Apple VoiceOver and gestures, plus magnification

  • Demo: Susan calls Donna.
  • Demo: Donna texts Susan.
  • Demo: “siri, tell me the weather!”.

Learning Resources

  • “Learn macular degeneration”audio explanation from Hadley Institute website
  • Follow weekly podcasts like “Eyes On Success” interviews on people and technology.
  • Join free Digital Talking Book program (call Public Library).
  • Attend local West Yavapai Guidance Clinic, Catch the Vision, People Who Care meetings.

Go beyond magnification into voice

  • Moving window reading and typing commands and text (Windows ZoomText).
  • Total screen reading by keyboard (Windows NVDA).
  • Gestures, reading from screen (Apple).

Note: You adapt to “synthetic speech” and choose voices

Getting around safely

  • Visit a “low vision” specialist. doctor
  • Mark home hazards with contrast.
  • Use yurt feet to feel stairs, curbs, rugs, …
  • Extend arms in front to bend or open doors or use warning buzzer.
  • Get state rehab training for Orientation and Mobility, “white cane”.

Gradually build your life stile

  • Let others help you, but don’t become too dependant.
  • “low vision” is NOT “no vision” — see what you can and use all your senses.
  • Change “Every*body’s home town” — explain, teach, complain.
  • Enjoy well designed Yavapai College campus.

Links to above

Bon Voyage!!!


Overcoming Vision Loss: A Starter Kit

“I’m Losing Vision, now what?”: A Listening Guide for Volunteers and You

This tutorial is directed toward people recently experiencing loss of vision. You will find resources and advice through listening to online audio libraries at the ‘Hadley Institute’ and the ‘Eyes On Success’ radio show. Prescott-based ‘Catch the Vision’ individuals with decades of low vision life experience created this “starter kit” and are available to answer your questions.

This email or web page can be used directly if you retain the ability to read and click the resource links. Alternatively, a volunteer can speak the questions and manage the clicking. The computer requires a working audio player in the system and might be best heard with an attached speaker. A “smart phone” (Apple or Android) might work in place of a computer.

So, you have some vision loss, now use this guide to help you understand and adjust to that condition. Ready, set, listen!!!

What does your eyesight diagnosis mean? What does your eye doctor recommend?

Hear retired teacher Dan Roberts tell his story of finding his way with macular degeneration.
Hadley Presents podcast on macular degeneration.
Click the PLAY button or download the audio file.

A medical and prevention email discussion forum’ is at
WWW.MDSupport.Org, Dan Roberts, Director
and the
‘American Federation for Blind’ directory Vision Aware.Org .

2. Getting adjusted takes time and patience, as in “asking people for help” and organizing your home. Where’s the manual for vision loss?

“When you can’t believe your eyes” is a well-structured book of practical and social tips. Radio show hosts interview low vision therapist author Hannah Fairbairn, with book details, at
vision adjustment book interview ‘Eyes On Success’ podcast.
Download or play the mp3 audio file.

3. Let’s get practical.

Lucky you!!! Hundreds of similar topics related to your situation are discussed at
Hadley.edu and

Explore their search functions and show notes. Both sites offer tips and tricks on cooking, labeling, walking, shopping, traveling, sports, games, health, and safety.

To browse a catalog for gadgets you need or want or never knew existed, go to site
LSS Assistive Technology Products
or call 1-800-468-4789 for the printed version.

4. How can you keep reading?

Narrated books, magazines and news are just a phone call away at ‘Arizona Talking Book Library’.

Call 1-800-255-5578 and request an application. You’ll qualify if you cannot read standard printed material as certified by a vision specialist or your local librarian. There’s no charge for the audio books, equipment, supplies or mailing. Visit the site at
Arizona Talking Books.

5. Who is “Catch the Vision”?

Learn About us. We’re “low vision techies at your service”. We have been in your situation a while back. Our goal now is to knock down some barriers to speed up your visionk adjustment.

See contacts below or come to one of our Zoom sessions.

What comes after the Starter Kit?

Wait, there’s more, when you’re ready!!!

Too much information? You’re entering another world and need a new vocabulary. Get used to these terms: “vision rehabilitation”, “active daily living”, “confident living”; “low vision”, “visually impaired”, “visually handicapped”, “legally blind”, etc. Then there’s “assistive technology”, “orientation and mobility”, and your “disability rights”.

“Assistive technology” includes “text to speech”, “screen readers”, iPad/iPhone VoiceOver”, Google Android Talkback, “book readers”, “talking books”. “GPS tools help locate and navigate. Labelers mark papers and clothes. Scanners read mail and labels.

Skills you’ll gain include: getting used to “text to speech”, that is, your computer talks to you; making phone and text calls; fixing your home with contrast and lights and safety; reading with magnifiers; labeling things; questioning your eye doctor; getting state or veterans assistance; meeting for support, information, and spreading awareness around the community.

Bon Voyage!!!

Contact and Credits

This page is at https://catchthevision.Life. Published August 2020 by Susan L. Gerhart, Bob Walker, and Donna Bennet.

Contact dbenny39@gmail.com or slger123@gmail.com or Susan 928.848.9292.