The white cane is not a walking stick, it is much more than that. The white cane is actually a tool that is used to detect obstacles and changes in elevation as a blind or visually impaired person walks along a path. The cane is held out in front and swiped from left to write to make sure the path is clear. The cane is also used to identify landmarks to help with orientation along the path.
Some people that have some sight may carry an ID cane which is smaller and slimmer than a regular white cane to let others know they have trouble seeing. This cane is not meant for swiping from side to side. People that have some sight may still use a standard white cane.
I am visually impaired. I am blind in my right eye and have limited sight in my left eye. I use very thick glasses with a high prescription. I use a standard white cane when I am out on my own because I do not have depth perception so judging distances and seeing steps and curves is very hard for me. The cane warns me of curbs or steps ahead or of any obstacles in my way.
When you see someone that has some sight using a white cane please know they really do need it for safety reasons.
I should mention that the white cane has been given a splash of color in the recent years and now they can be customized in various color schemes. So, if you see a hot pink cane being swiped from side to side know that it serves as a white cane.
Now I want to share a video of how a white cane helps a visually impaired person independently navigate.
Planes Trains and Canes is a mini documentary series by blind scientist and bioengineering professor Mona Minkara. In this series she documents her experiences as she travels independently to various countries.
I found this documentary very informative and a great real life picture of what it is like to travel as a person who is blind. I will be sharing my reaction to each episode during the next several weeks.
In the first episode she travels from Boston to Johannesburg.
One of the first things that jumped out to me was the excellent audio description. A person who is blind or visually impaired will know exactly what is going on in the video. I also appreciate that Mona gives her own tips for getting around independently. She has someone along side her for filming purposes but she rarely relies on them for directions.
I like how that flight attended was very descriptive on the flight from Boston to Atlanta.
In her flight to Johannesburg she highlights some accessibility issues when interacting with a touch screen but the flight attendant is very helpful and offers a solution that still let’s her remain independent.
It is also interesting to see her interactions with people along her way through airports and train stations. People are still willing to help out there and that has been my experience when out and about as well.
There are always those that are hesitant to help or that may not know what the white cane is for especially in other countries but Mona is great at advocating for herself and speaking up when she needs help.
I enjoyed this episode over all. She encourages me to get out there and try new things and go on adventures. Watch the entire episode to see all the fun adventures.
Come back next week on Wednesday to read my reaction to episode two.
Today I want to put a spotlight on the blog Bold Blind Beauty founded by Stephanae McCoy. She seeks to bring awareness to the fact that “real beauty transcends barriers”. She is visually impaired herself but that has not stopped her from building this amazing platform. On her blog you will find encouragement and tips regarding all aspects of life as a blind or visually impaired person.
She brings a spotlight to women on the move who are blind or visually impaired shining a light on there lives and talents. I know you will be encouraged when you read their stories.
On the site you will also find helpful tips when it comes to fashion and beauty. Here you will learn that vision loss or blindness does not stop someone from enjoying fashion and makeup. There are tips on how to put on makeup as well as how to find your style when it comes to fashion.
This blog also shines a spotlight on the white cane, working to remove the stigma that comes with this mobility tool. Abby makes the white cane a fashionable tool. She represents all blind and visually impaired woman that use a white cane. (Abby is an silhouette of a woman walking confidently with her cane)