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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Identification cane

my vision isn't poor enough to really require a mobility cane but it's bad enough to have an adverse effect on the way I interact with new environments. I have especially tough times crossing the street. I have considered getting an identification cane for streets and some new places. Is it frowned upon for someone with minimally bad vision to use such a resource?

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Re:Identification cane



Hi Joe,
Thank you very much for your post. I will check out all the links you posted for me. I have now been referred to the RNIB Mobility Officers but they tell me they have quite a long waiting period so if you could also give me some information and little tricks how to use a cane, it would be very much appreciated. Sorry for not posting earlier but had a bad eye migraine (then vision is quite bad).


Re:Identification cane



I definitely think that would be a great first step, make contact and find out what services are available.

You can check out the Hadley School for the Blind which is a free school online or through the mail that allows you to learn some blindness skills. There are a variety of courses to check out. www.hadley.edu

You could check out AccessWorld at www.afb.org/aw which has technology evaluations and such. Might give you an idea of the technology out there for the future.

Check out AFB CareerConnect at www.afb.org/cc which you can search through the database of mentors who are blind or visually impaired and employed. You have to register for free to contact them.

You can check out other resources on www.afb.org.

Hope this is helpful!

Sincerely,
Joe S.
AFB Staff


Re:Identification cane



Thank you for your response, Joe. No I haven't had contact with any rehabilitation services yet. Any suggestions, advice and help would be greatly appreciated.


Re:Identification cane



Sounds like you could use some Orientation and Mobility lessons. Instruction in using the cane. I think an ID cane is an idea, but an actual folding cane maybe of use. As for finding obstacles when indoors and outdoors.
www.rnib.co.uk (Look up RNIB)

Have you had a rehabilitation services to help you with your visual impairment? I could give you some tips on using the cane, but you really should have some instruction if it is possible.

Just trying to help!

Sincerely,
Joe S.
AFB Staff


Re:Identification cane



I'm not quite sure where to start so here it goes: I live in Scotland but found this site so very helpful maybe somebody can give me any advice on my problem? By optician's standard I have normal vision. I am still driving and have v. good distance vision. Where I fall at the hurdle is probably what you would call an in-depth problem. If a room is carpeted and somewhere in the room there is a step of the same colour I will trip over it. The same happens on the roads and pavements. Any broken slabs sticking up I will "find" and trip and rip my leg open. I only have the problem when I am on foot (no problem in the car although I have stopped driving at dusk). My eye consultant is running various tests but so far everything in my eye seems normal although when I had an MRI scan of my eyes I couldn't see for a few hours afterwards. I also visit a friend at a castle. I know that in the Great Hall there is no step but my brain tells me there is one and although I know it is a flat surface I have to make the "step" and, of course, I'm likely to jarre myself by doing so. My consultant has referred me to a neuro-opthalmologist, to the low vision clinic and also to the RNIB Vision Centre (Royal National Institute for the Blind). They were very helpful but suggested to use an ID cane as well as referring me to their mobility officers to see if a mobility cane would help. I know in my own mind that I have a problem but I don't want to be called a fraud. I am also hearing impaired and wear hearing aids but sometimes find it difficult crossing roads cause I can't hear the cars approaching. I am also competing my horse in dressage which sometimes makes it a bit weird because it suddenly gets black in front of my eyes and I have to rely on my horse to know where he is going. I don't want to give up the sport as we both love it. Please help! I am at a loss right now and not quite sure what to do. You can also email me directly at: chunnaicmithu@yahoo.co.uk. Thank you sooo much.


Re:Identification cane



Hello everyone- I have used my guide dog for the last 5 years now and I love him to death. While I was in training, in New York at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, we were told to actually carry a cane with us- or better, an I.D. cane. Sometimes our dogs don't approach a curb or drop off or hole in the ground close enough for us to tell just by the feel through the harness.
So far, I've had one incident where Umbro would not approach the door enough for me to reach out to touch it. It turns out that the door was opened by being held open by a sign on the ground. Its not easy to tell this kind of info if you cannot see past your dog, or cane or at least 3 feet in front of you.
My guide dog instructor suggested keeping an I.D. cane with you- although you probably won't need to break it out- its always good to have it ready.

I have a cane collection now of older vintage canes to newer NFB style canes. Graphite is my favorite material because its light weight and takes a beating.
I will use my cane on the days my guide dog stays home- such as going to the store, going to events that would make it hard for him to work etc.

I noticed someone mention that they had epilepsy along with vision impairment. I too have vision impairment, hearing impairment, epilepsy, tachycardia/PAC's as well as migraines. I think its very important to have a medical ID card with you at all time that explain about your vision or other medical conditions.
If you travel by yourself, its definitely important for others to know a little about you, in an emergency situation.

Take care everyone,
Crystal and her guide Umbro


Re:Identification cane



I am blind in one eye and other eye is being watched by my optomotrist I have no depth perception and have had many injuries due to this, along with epilepsy.

I am visually impared with blindness


Re:Identification cane



I fell off a curb in midst of high traffic..a man stopped to blocked oncoming traffic to protect me..he then told me he wanted to pick me up and take me back to my home. I was scared and in pain...having to think quickly I let him...after gettting home my ankle swollen as I tore my achilles tendon. I wore a cast till it got better. Another time I lost my footing in new surroundings and felll and broke my knee, I have the edges of my dresser taped and padded to protect my eyes when I reach to bottom drawers. Another time I fell in a small hole in ground and a tree branch in front of me went right in my eye. I have an ulcerated dendrite, very painful.
** I just today 10 years later got my first white cane. I cannot keep pretending I can see stairs,steps,curves, I am very excited to be getting my new white cane from the blind association. I had called up the AFB in my area lady told me I was not blind enough, so I asked another blind commision person and she said I could use a fold up cane. I want orientation and guidance I also have epilepsy making things more confusing


Re:Identification cane



My son has been legally blind for 35 yrs. A month ago he woke up after a nights sleep. His world is black now. He had all the training when he was young for the visully impaired. The problem is, that was 20 yrs ago. I strongly recommend a legally blind person use a cane, and/or stay furmilar enough to master the use. Thank you Ken


Re:Identification cane



Beth,
From what you say, I'ld think the standard cane would be better for you ~ you describe using it just as most low vision, partially sighted poeple including me do. I'm sorry but ask yourself if calling it an identification cane is just a way around admitting you need the real thing. It tried that for years - it was foolish I now know.
Best wish - let all your friends here know how its going
Annie


Re:Identification cane



I have another posting on this site similar to this one. I'm 20 years old and have 20/50 vision and can get around during the day pretty well but at night, it is a totally different story. I'm trying to decide if I should get a cane and I've been at this for awhile...since my parents aren't particularly supportive of it. They don't understand what I'm going through, since they've been in denial about my vision for the last 20 years and want me to use a flashlight. The one I have is pretty good, but I think I could do better with a cane. Does anyone have any advice?


Re:Identification cane



To answer the question of who told me that my sight was bad enough? I have psuedotumor cerebri, in essence my body thinks that I have a brain tumor, but I don't.
By the time that I was diagnosed, I was legally blind in my left eye, it cannot be returned. Then last yr, I lost about 50% of my vision in my right eye.
I can still see bold things, and movement pretty well. My family helps me when needed. However, we just got back from a conference for Prevent Blindness in Washington DC. Even though my husband helped me, we still feel that an identification cane would b helpful. Just walking around in my yard, it could help me find a hole that a mole left or something. I cannot see anything in the dark.
We have discussed my getting a working dog, but am told that I don't meet the criteria to have one legally in public places or to get financial help to get one. I figure a cane would help me b a bit more independent.
Terri


Re:Identification cane



Had to jump in here again. Why not start today instead of the mean time to get the right training from a support agency that could put them on the right track.
That is the smart and right way of working it out.
I've worked with people who were extremely resistant to come to our agency for help. They'd rather be dead than to walk into an agency for the blind. It's like a death sentence, but that was after they were hit by a car or they were mugged because they looked vulnerable.
Then they came to us and said I need to get my dignity and confidence back. I'm not going out there vulnerable again.
I hope those of you who read these messages don't feel reluctant to seek help from agencies for the blind. It's not such a depressing place. There's no shame in it. Do this soon for your sake.


Re:Identification cane



at Elphie:

There is no cane "designed for your height" as indicated by an O&M instructor. For some people, a cane that hardly hits the ribs is enough. For others, one that's chin high. For more yet, one that is higher than the eyebrows. It's a combination of height, walking speed/styles, and personal choice. An O&M instructor can give you great guidelines, but ultimately, the right length is your choice.

Also, I've never had to show a prescription to buy a cane- and I've boughten my share both online and offline in my trial and error of determining the right material and length. That might be different in other countries.. but as far as I know, nope.

At Terri:

While elphies comments about O&M were otherwise correct, I will add a note that you can purchase a strictly ID cane or mobility cane online, or in some cases, from local agencies serving the blind that have their own little shops. While you may need to, for the purposes of O&M training, present a doctors letter detailing your diagnosis and acuity, there's nothing to stop you from going out with a cane until then.


Re:Identification cane



Hi Elissabeth;
I am visually impaired. I am considered in our community as a high partial. becasue I can walk around with minimal assistance. also, because I see in general, but not in specifics. I don't think "high partial is a legal term. LOL.I think it gives us as partials a quick description to others as to how much we can see.
"I'm a low partial." or
I'm a high partial."
I do, however, becasue of my eye conditions have no depth perception and glare is a huge issue. I cannot see traffic lights, during the day, so I depend on the flow of traffic or I observe other pedestrians, to get me across the streets safely. I walk fast and tend to look straight ahead and not examine the surface of the sidewalk. I have fallen, because of jagged roads or holes in the sidewalk. My neighborhood is familiar to me and I know every crack and crevice in sidewalks and roads, but when I am in unfamiliar places I use a regular red and white cane. I also use my cane when I need assistance in stores. My vision is really interesting. I can see enough where I don't bump into big things, but something real thin and if it blends with color schemes indoors, I will bump into them. I have nystagmus, which means I don't have control of the muscles in my eyes.
If I don't use my cane, people think I'm trippin'. I've had people come up to me when I was young and ask me what drugs I was taking?
Sometimes, people believe that I am just lazy and I can find if I just look a little harder or longer, but that is not the case. Stores for me are so overwhelming at times.
Grocery shopping is not an issue, but finding something small and specific can take me logner to look for. It can be in front of my nose and not know it.
I don't use I D canes, because they are too thin and flimsy. I don't believe they are meant to be used for mobility purposes. That is only "my" opinion. If others use it as a mobilty device and it works for them "Wonderful!" I used to use an I D cane when I was a teen and in my twenties to get on the city bus at a discount. It let them know I was "Legally Blind" and that I was entitled to their discount. The problem was that that little cane was not working for me; it was too small and thin
I find the regular red and white cane more sturdy and recognizeable to the sighted community.
If you want to get a cane for yourself, Have your ophthalmologist write a note Stating your diagnoses and visual Acuity.
Visual Acuity is those old numbers 20/200 or whatever.
If you are legally blind by law. You are entitled to the same rights and services as those who are blind. Some sighted people think that legal blindness means "total blindness" but it doesn't.
Find an agency for the blind and visualy impaired in your area where you can go and be "fitted for the right height. Having a cane that is designed for your height is so important. They have different handles and some indviduals may require a "Support Cane" that is red and White. Before they sell a cane to you, you must have proof of "legal blindness from an eye care professional.as I explained above.
They usually have O & M instructors who are professionally trained and certified by your state to teach you on the safest way to get around your neighborhood and city. You will be taught how to use the cane properly and tips on how to "Listen" to your environment instead of depending on your vision. You will feel more confident and safe knowing you have gotten all the knowledge and wisdom from them. Now you are independent!
It's more than okay to want to use a cane.
Use it proudly. Remember that your cane doesn't define who you are inside. You are not what some people assume you are because you are blind or visually impaired. It's only one tool we use to navigate around.and it keeps you safe.
All the best you.
Elphie



Re:Identification cane



Hello,
I am sight impaired, but not enough to qualify to get a working dog. However, there are times when a cane would come in handy, such as crossing streets and when I am in dark places.
Can anyone tell me how to go about getting a cane? Is this something I need a perscription for? Where do I go to get one? Any information on this would be appreciated. You may email me directly at tamealer@yahoo.com
Thank you,
Terri Mealer


Re:Identification cane



My all means get one; its my guess you will find it very useful in places and ways you never suspected. I would like to have a nickel for everyone I know who started using a cane this way and in a year or so foundit indespesneable. I know I did somethingthing much like that and never rergreetted it.
By the way, who told you how bad your eyesight is and whether you need a cane? You might try checking with a state agency or something similar.


Re:Identification cane



Yes, it's absolutely acceptable to get and use a cane when you think you need it, without a doubt! There's no reason to put yourself in an unsafe situation while crossing the street for the sake of not having very low vision. Even if you barely meet the definition of low vision, heck, even if you don't, if you've ever felt unsafe somewhere with your sight.. please use a cane!


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