One thing which has come to my attention lately is the lack of awareness around long Caines and what they are for.
As a visually impaired person who uses a long caine I find it rather difficult when people do not acknowledge my caine.
I use a long white cain with a roller ball on the end and a red handle. My cain is there as a symbol to others that I am visually Impaired and need extra space and time to navigate my surroundings. It is also there to allow me to feel what is going on around me so I can navigate safely.
For example I can use the cain to discover a change in surface so if there is a dropped curb or some steps I can use it to tell if there is something blocking my path and which direction I need to take to avoid this obstacle.
One very important thing to note is that I use the caine in my right hand as that is the side I see nothing out of.
If you see a person with a long cain please give them the space they need to navigate safely, do not grab them, do not jump over their cain. If you think they may need help just say hello and ask ‘do you need a hand?’ I personally do not mind if someone asks. I would rather be asked and politely decline.
Before we are let loose with our Caines we go through training. This allows us to learn to use the caine in a safe reliable manner. We have to learn to navigate steps, curbs, changes in terrain (oh yes on and off road) we learn what tactile paving means what. So we know if where approaching stairs, a crossing (what kind of crossing) or even if we are approaching a train platform.
Caines are not cheap either so this is why we ask that you don’t leap over them, as you could hurt yourself and in the process damage our caines. Or us. Ouch!
If you would like to learn more about being Visually Impaired please follow this link to discover more of my post about being visually impaired.
Thank you again for reading.