long cane protects and detects. It is an exploring tool.
It facilitates safe and efficient travel. Use the cane
with the brain! When in doubt, check it out! With partially
sighted children, the cane "looks" down so they can
look up. It has been said that they have vision for
what they can see and the cane for what they can't.
It has also been said, "Don't put your foot where you're
cane hasn't been!"
Movement and Travel Terms for Children
Walking with Someone
Cane is held directly out in front of traveller, contacting
the floor, sliding, or tapping.
Hold Cane for Cane Walking
Cane is held in travel grip position that is developmentally
appropriate for child.
When standing still, encourage child to hold cane upright.
Cane Down on the Ground
The cane is meant to be oriented down. It is not a pointer.
Side to Side, Slide It Wide
Crowded Areas, Line Walking
Also known as constant contact with the floor or ground.
These are safer techniques for beginners.
Shorten-Up Position - Grip cane further down
the shaft to reduce the length of the cane and make
it more manageable for children.
Grip - For older children, cane can be held like
a pencil. This requires higher level hand functioning
and is more efficient for crowded areas.
Cane the Wall
Using the cane to touch the wall for information or
line of direction.
Using the hand to get a line of direction or information.
To "scan" means to look.
Middle of Hallway Walking
As the child learns about walls, corners, etc., he/she
will naturally move to the middle of the hall for faster,
more convenient, and efficient travel.
Placing the back to wall (or object) to get a line of
There are times the child will need to change hands
with the cane, for example, to look at something, on
stairs, or to cane the wall. The cane should be held
in the hand farther from wall.
When going up, think "thumb up!" When going down, hold
the cane in regular cane walking position or in the
shepherd staff position.
Dip Down Clue
This is when cane drop-off occurs at stairs, curbs,
etc. This enables the child to perceive a change in
depth of the ground (depth perception).
When stepping up or down on a curb, or the last step
on steps, the cane should slide side to side to protect
the traveller from any object that may be there.
General information taken from the environment and used
in orientation and travel.
Auditory sense enabling traveler to recognize an opening,
closure, large objects, etc. A use of the sound space
world to get a sort of figure-ground.
Long/Short Hallway Sound
Sound made by cane being tapped to determine characteristics
of a space, destination to be travelled, etc.
Using two edges that come together on the ground to
get a line of direction for travel (for example, grass
and concrete for detecting intersections at a sidewalk).
As the young child learns to keep the cane down on the
ground and slide for information, then, gradually, the
cane can be tapped left and tapped rightone step
one tapcreating a low arc (inch or two off the
20. In-Step Rhythm
Gradually the cane will be tapped to the opposite side
of where the traveller is stepping. The cane is tapped
to right as child is stepping to left.
Blindfold used to cover the eyes while learning the
skills of blindness. In this way, trust in the skills
is developed through use of the senses of touch and
Drill for Skill: Skills to Encourage at Home and School
1. Locating Dropped Objects
Protective and searching techniques of hands and cane
to locate objects dropped.
Locating objects at curbside and building side.
Identifying parallel and perpendicular traffic.
What controls an intersection (stop sign, traffic guard,
light, one way, etc.)?
Concept of Block
Going around the block, four corners, etc.
Learning about north, south, east, and west, using a
compass, sun location, street references, etc.
Exploring and Discovery
Place a high value on exploring the environment in ways
that will enable the child to discover information and
the relationships between objects, places, and him/herself.
The child will learn about the school environment as
children with sight learn: through discovery, exploring,
practice, and age-appropriate experiences. The list
below includes some of the skill areas to keep in mind.
Lunch time, recess, etc.
Playground and play equipment
Going through doors, managing the cane, holding the
door for others, etc.
Locating the bathroom and age-appropriate bathroom skills
Fire drill independence and safety procedures
Taking messages to the office, other classrooms, etc.
Walking in pairs, in groups, and independently, to destinations
in the school
To and from the school bus, steps on bus, taking a seat,
managing the cane, emergency routine on the bus (evacuation
Taking a seat in the auditorium, walking up and down
the aisle, on the stage, etc.
any other child who needs to learn these tasks, the
blind child needs experience and practice, particularly
on the skills of blindness that will enable the child
to perform these tasks. (Blindness is the reason to
learn these skills.*) Common sense and the alternative
techniques of blindness will help to ensure that the
blind child will be a full participant in life.
the blind child with multiple disabilities who may not
be able to do some skills in an age-appropriate manner,
consider their developmental age. They should be doing
the skills appropriate to that level independently.
The blind child with additional disabilities is even
more vulnerable than the blind child who develops typically
because others tend to do more for them than they should.
These children are then prevented from learning tasks
they could learn to do for themselves.
is never an excuse to not learn these skills.