for Cane Travel
by Joe Cutter
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 canes.
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).
the parents are supportive of the child moving in larger spaces with
this adaptive tool.
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.
analogy was used to punctuate the varied uses of the cane.
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.
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