Today is National White Cane Day. We celebrated with some local sight resources. Thank you North Central Sight Services for a fun event. Today you get two guides what you should and shouldn’t do when you see someone using a white cane. Rather than split the two day’s of posts I thought it would help you to show what you can do with it. My Oliver was a great help and let me be mean to him to show you what not to do.
What You Should Never Do:
- Take a person’s white cane. Don’t, not ever, touch their cane. This would be like pulling a walker away from an elderly person or taking someone’s wheelchair.
- Yell at that person to get their attention. More than likely the person is sensitive to sound, this is like blowing a car horn to say hi.
- Block the person’s path, refuse to move. This is a major issue. Please move out of the way of the cane as you would for a wheelchair, that radius is fully needed, thank you.
- Never lead that person forcefully, you are not pulling them along.
- Never lead that person forcefully somewhere you think they want to go. Try asking. It’s a common problem that white cane users are forced across streets by helpful pedestrians.
- Cut them off, come from the side, run into them.
- Cause harm or ridicule. Be a good person, seriously.
What You Should Do:
- Greet the person, introduce yourself.
- Ask before providing assistance “do you need to cross that road, I can help you.”
- Guide by placing a hand gently behind their elbow, without leading the pace, and tell them about obstacles or concerns.
- Stay out of the way of the white cane.
- Walk slowly around them, quick movements can be very alarming.
- Be considerate.
- I would rather you ask questions than stare, make a friend, rather than see a show.
- Allow the white cane user to walk independently, I assure you they’re pretty capable.
- If you see them struggling, tell them about a handrail, obstacle, or issue that you see that they do not.
- Allow that person every right of independence you have.
If you’ve followed along you understand that there are many levels to legal blindness. A white cane can be used for many reasons. Do not assume the person is completely blind or incapable. People first matters, so be kind.
If you want to follow similar posts visit the Special Needs Page.