White Cane Day

Did you know October 15th is White Cane Day?

Neither did I until I saw the note from my daughter’s Orientation and Mobility Teacher!

About one year ago, Evalyn was introduced to the long white cane in school. As you may be aware, she has Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) which is a brain-based visual impairment. She is not blind. Her eyes are healthy and normal. She can see, but her brain has difficulty interpreting the information it receives from her eyes.

CVI also causes Evalyn to have difficulty seeing things in her lower visual field. This can make moving in unfamiliar areas very difficult. She has trouble navigating stairs, uneven surfaces and curbs outside when she is not expecting them. She also has a lot of anxiety when going to an unfamiliar or crowded place.

Introducing Evalyn to her long white cane was a step in helping to increase her independence – now and into adulthood. As she learns how to use the cane properly, she will become able to move more safely and independently in her environment without holding onto someone else. The cane is also a signal to others that Evalyn has a visual impairment and that she may need more time or space to get where she needs to be.

Before Evalyn had a cane, I knew nothing about their full purpose or how they were used. Here are a few things I have learned about long white canes in the past year:

  • Some people who use long white canes have normal acuity of vision.
  • Long white canes do not bear weight like a walking cane.
  • One way that they can be used is in a constant, sweeping motion from side to side to alert the user if something is in their way. This is the technique Evalyn is learning.
  • They don’t have to be white! You can order them in custom colors.
  • Using a cane helps with increasing independence and confidence in its user.

PLEASE feel free to ask me anything below. I am happy to share what I have learned.

Happy Long White Cane Day!

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