for Cane Travel
Implement used to accomplish a task, usually hand held
(spoon, scoop, shovel, push toy, hula hoop, cane, etc.).
Protective and detective device that facilitates movement.
Types include long canes, support canes, and folding
Do I Start?
1. When the child has a sense of his or her own body
in space and is ambulatory (adaptations can be made
for non-ambulatory children).
When the parents are supportive of the child moving
in larger spaces with this adaptive tool.
When the child's safety, efficiency, and confidence
will be facilitated, as well as his/her quality of movement.
Family decision, with the central question being: Will
the child's independent movement be increased (facilitated)
by the cane?
OT and PT
When consultation is needed, information gained from
these professionals will assist the 0&M instructor with
teaching proper positioning and handling for that specific
child. (Often dependent upon child's muscle tone, balance,
fluency of motor movements, and wherever their source
of control for using the cane is.)
to Expect from the Child
Initially, movements of the cane and body will be exaggerated
until practice makes for more effective motor schemes.
Children typically want to check out what the cane is
hitting by using their hands. A change in cane position
demands a change in thought. The child's age and stage
of developmentas well as the parents' expectationswill
drive the curiosity, purposeful use, and skill proficiency
with the cane.
of the Cane: What Can It Do?
The cane is a tool that performs many functions. It
can inform, explore, inspect, detect, protect, and,
most of all, facilitate getting to know and moving in
the world. To illustrate, the cane is more than a "windshield
wiper" on the world. It is the "steering wheel" that
can be manipulated to where the traveller wants to go.
It is "headlights" giving preview of what's ahead. It
is the "bumper" protecting from unexpected encounters.
It is the "antennae" receiving resonance information
from the sound space world. It is the "tires," adjusting
to the terrain and providing a smoother, more stable
"ride." And it is the "sideview mirror" giving peripheral
protection, whenever the traveller needs to circumvent
an object. Like the car, the cane is as effective as
the "driver," who is vulnerable to speeding and must
obey the laws of the road. But mostly the cane gets
you where you want to go.
fun analogy was used to punctuate the varied uses of
of fun, what child is not fascinated by a "stick?" It
"connects" the child to the ground in a way that is
fun. When walking, it seems natural to hold a stick
and "touch the world." Therefore, it is the most natural
thing for the blind child to be using a cane.