The Orientation & Mobility (O & M) specialist who evaluated Lovey was convinced she could benefit from the use of a white cane for independent travel. This was initially a bitter pill to swallow, given Lovey has a good bit of functional vision and she’s managing to get along so well on her own. The O & M specialist, Laura (a friend and former co-worker), explained how the cane would help her maintain poise at terrain changes. Currently she shuffles and scoots her feet awkwardly when she sees something on the ground but can’t tell what it is. For example, when she walks on large colored tiles at the library, a simple change in color appears to her to be a drop-off. It’s awkward for her to try to navigate a drop-off when there isn’t one. The cane will allow her to hold her head high when walking without having to worry about looking down and will enable her to walk faster. The cane presents a multitude of other potential uses, including helping Lovey navigate stairs safely.
Since we want to give Lovey every tool we can to help her be successful (and independent), we decided to go along with Laura’s recommendation to get her a cane. It’s important for her to learn how valuable the cane is while she is young. When she is older, Lovey will decide when and if to use the cane, but we want to show her what a fun and useful tool it can be. We are blessed to have Laura as our guide.
Here are a few pictures of Lovey’s first cane lesson (in sprinkling rain, of course). She tried out several different styles and lengths as Laura and I watched, amazed at her eagerness and enthusiasm. Most little ones do not take to this new tool so willingly; but Lovey knew immediately how useful it could be. The first thing she did was look for puddles to investigate.
Lovey’s 3 Rules for Using the Cane:
- Keep the cane out in front
- Keep the tip on the ground
- Hold the grip with your hand on top
She is doing very well with all three, so the plan is to meet Laura at Lovey’s favorite place for the next lesson — Cleveland Park. She loves to go there to walk around the pond and feed old bread to the ducks and geese!
Maybe the geese won’t be so bold when they see Lovey carrying a big stick. Smile. Reminds me of the quote by Teddy Roosevelt,
“Speak softly and carry a big stick”
May she learn to do both with grace ♥