White Cane Safety Day - Raise your cane in the air! (Oh wait, put it down!)
by Joe Strechay
Did you know that October 15 is White Cane Safety Day? If you said yes, you are correct. It has been observed on that date since 1964, with localities celebrating it throughout the country. White Cane Safety Day is about celebrating and creating awareness about the white cane and its use.
I use a white cane, but I have also been an orientation and mobility (O&M) instructor. An orientation and mobility instructor is a professional who teaches persons who are blind or visually impaired how to properly use a cane and travel safely and efficiently through their environment. The white cane is many things, but overall it is a tool that allows persons to travel safely and independently (with training). The American Foundation for the Blind is a very important part of this process. AFB Press produces the textbooks most often used in the training of professionals who work with children or adults who are blind or visually impaired. Some of you may not even know that you could get an undergraduate or graduate degree related to teaching orientation and mobility, rehabilitation teaching (working with adults), or teaching children with visual impairments.
The first textbook utilized to train professionals on how to teach orientation and mobility was copyrighted in 1976 and written by Everett Hill & Purvis Ponder. This book was titled Orientation and Mobility Techniques: A Guide for the Practitioner. AFB still offers this book, and continues to produce quality textbooks for our field, the most recent being Foundations of Orientation and Mobility, Third Edition—a two-volume text that is the field's essential reference and teaching tool on O&M. I took two classes from Purvis Ponder at Florida State University. I am truly grateful to all those who train persons to use the white cane and have laid the foundation for my independence as a person who is visually impaired.
I believe we should all make an effort to be out in the community showing off our white canes not just on October 15, but every day. When someone stops you to ask a question about your cane, take a second and talk to him or her about how you use your cane to travel. White Cane Safety Day is about creating an awareness of the white cane. We want drivers to be aware of what the white cane signifies, but we also want people to know that it helps us with our independence. I am thankful that AFB works with experts in our field to create these textbooks that help people like me be independent. Thank you AFB!
Re: White Cane Safety Day - Raise your cane in the air! (Oh wait, put it down!)Posted by Laxxxmanan [http://www.afb.org/] on 10/18/2011 at 7:40 AM
Quite an information!
Re: White Cane Safety Day - Raise your cane in the air! (Oh wait, put it down!)Posted by Joe S on 10/18/2011 at 10:21 AM
Thank you for reading!
You may also enjoy this post on FamilyConnect.org -- "I never travel without Slim" --
Re: White Cane Safety Day - Raise your cane in the air! (Oh wait, put it down!)Posted by jajoe411647 on 10/15/2012 at 2:07 PM
I have also been a cane man ever since I can remember, and I don't know what I'd do without it. I currently have 2 folding canes and 1 straight cane, which used to belong to my former roommate. But he gave it to me when he got his guide dog. I don't use the straight cane that often though, because it is a bit shorter than my 2 folding ones.
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