Step-By-Step started off as a project designed to benefit the students in the Orientation & Mobility program at San Francisco State University. These students were charged with learning and demonstrating mobility skills at some of the busiest intersections in San Francisco, all while wearing a sleep shade over their eyes.
It was clear to these students that simply reading about a skill, or seeing it demonstrated in a classroom, did not give them what they needed in order to most easily learn the nuances of performing a skill. This need extended to teaching the various skills and analyzing someone's performance of that skill before they had the responsibility of teaching a classmate who was wearing a sleep shade. Thus, the need for an instructional database that was richer than just still photos was realized: one that provided a full-motion demonstration of skills which themselves involve motion.
Step-By-Step has, indeed, been a long time in coming. What started as a relatively simple project to develop a CD of instructional videos on mobility skills grew to be a seven module series of instructional videos, a comprehensive study guide, and a pictorial review guide.
Step-By-Step was definitely not a one-person achievement. San Francisco State University students served as actors in the video clips, and shared their perspectives in the development of the study guide and review guide. Orientation & mobility university professionals throughout the United States identified the final techniques and skills that would be included in the product. All of these special colleagues deserve credit and have my undying gratitude.
I especially want to thank Kevin Kelly, the most talented instructional technology specialist I have ever met. Kevin spent countless hours working with me as I endeavored to learn just enough computer programming to produce the videos. Kevin not only helped me learn enough computer programming basics to develop the Step-By-Step computer framework and finish the project, but he filled in the blanks with the high-level lingo that only a professional can write.
I want to thank Wendy Scheffers who spent many hours reviewing the near-final draft of the study guide and providing invaluable feedback. I also want to give special acknowledgement to both Wendy Scheffers and Linda Myers for their invaluable contributions to the writing of the sections, "Signalized Intersections" and "Unsignalized Intersections" in the Street Crossing Techniques module of the Study Guide.
Lastly, I want to thank Terrie Terlau and Rosanne Hoffmann at the American Printing House for the Blind, and the expert reviewers for their feedback which helped to shape Step-By-Step into the product that it is.
Despite the years of work filled with emotional highs, lows, and countless frustrations, developing this product has been an experience both profound and wonderful. People from around the world provided encouragement and constructive criticism and kept the faith despite myriad setbacks that delayed publication of this product by years. It is to all of you, who encouraged me to not give up when faced with ongoing delays and obstacles to completion and publication, that I dedicate Step-By-Step. I also dedicate Step-By-Step to all of my colleagues throughout the world, in countries as far away as China, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and Israel, and to those who expressed sincere interest in incorporating Step-By-Step into instruction in their own countries.
Thank you to everyone for helping to make Step-By-Step a reality.
The ability to travel independently is a basic aspect of human existence. Inherent in almost everything we do in life is the act of moving from one place to another in our environment. Whether it is a short distance such as from the refrigerator to the table, or a long distance such as taking a bus ride or even an airplane trip, most activities in life involve travel. In fact, a limitation on independent movement has been shown to be one of the most basic barriers to a person's social and economic functioning. For example, studies have shown that senior citizens are often reluctant to give up driving because they see driving as a sign of independence and are fearful of becoming isolated (Johnson, 2002; Yassuda, 1997). Research has shown mobility problems to be a primary barrier to employment (Crudden, McBroom, Skinner, & Moore, 1998). When mobility skills and confidence are restored, consumers often feel encouraged to return to work following the loss of vision (Miller, 2002).
Travel, no matter how short or long, involves three things: (a) the formulation of a travel route and plan for getting from our starting point to our destination, (b) the processing of sensory information to continually update our position in the environment as we move, and (c) motor skills to physically travel from point A to point B. Each one of these things is intricately related to the other two. The first two elements, in particular, are the key contributors to what is known as "orientation." Orientation refers to the ability to establish and monitor one's position and movement in space by gathering and interpreting available sensory information (LaGrow & Weesies, 1994). Without a plan for getting from our starting point to our destination, we are likely to wander aimlessly in space only to arrive at the destination by chance. Sensory information, in turn, tells us where we are in relation to objects in our environment. As we move from point A to point B, we process changes in the incoming sensory information to continually update our position in the environment and to plan the remainder of our travel to point B. This processing of sensory information relies on our visual, tactual, auditory, proprioceptive, kinesthetic, and sometimes olfactory senses. For people with sight, the vision sense arguably provides the richest source of information. This is particularly true for features of the environment that are beyond arm's reach. Sight is supported by auditory and olfactory information that can help identify the location of specific objects or places in the environment such as an idling vehicle or the bakery we are passing. The tactual, proprioceptive, and kinesthetic senses provide information on features of the environment with which we are in immediate contact such as the door handle we are turning or the slanting sidewalk on which we are traveling.
The third item, physically moving from point A to point B, constitutes travel. When performed by a person with a visual impairment using specialized techniques to ensure safe and effective movement through the environment, it is called "mobility" (Hill & Ponder, 1976; Jacobson, 1993; LaGrow & Weesies, 1994). There are many techniques that people who are blind use to travel safely and efficiently. These techniques, along with the type of instruction provided in orientation & mobility, may vary depending upon the traveler's age (Anthony, Bleier, Fazzi, Kish, & Pogrund, 2002; Crews & Clark, 1997; Griffin-Shirley & Groff, 1993; Hill & Hill, 1991; Pogrund & Rosen, 1989; Skellenger & Hill, 1997); amount of useful travel vision (Dodds & Davis, 1989; Geruschat & Smith, 1997; Long, Rieser, & Hill, 1990; Ludt & Goodrich, 2002); sensory, cognitive, spatial, and physical ability (Gervasoni, 1996; Huebner, 1995; Joffee & Ehresman, 1997; Knott, 2002; Lolli & Sauerburger, 1997; Rosen, 1997; Sauerburger & Jones, 1997); the travel environment (e.g., indoor versus outdoor, familiar versus unfamiliar, controlled versus uncontrolled); and even personal preference. Primary mobility systems include several modes: (a) human guides, (b) long canes, and (c) dog guides. Also, there are secondary mobility devices that may be used along with the above. These include such things as visual aids (e.g., monoculars and sunglasses) and non-visual aids (e.g., visors or baseball caps to shield the eyes from glare). Secondary devices also include a variety of electronic devices that use ultrasound, laser, infrared, and even GPS technology to serve as environmental sensors (e.g., Miniguide) and to provide information for location (e.g., Talking Signs) and navigation (e.g., Trekker). In addition, some travel situations, such as moving around a familiar house or building, may not involve using any of the above but may be done solely by using specific non-cane mobility techniques designed to ensure safety and provide some environmental information for orientation. There are many aspects to independent travel by people without vision and many books have been written about selected aspects of orientation & mobility. Step-By-Step specifically focuses on travel skills using a long cane, a human guide, and selected non-cane techniques used by travelers who do not possess functional vision.
University-based professional preparation of orientation & mobility specialists began in 1960 with the opening of Boston College's program in orientation & mobility. For more than 40 years, colleges and universities throughout the United States and other countries have prepared orientation & mobility specialists to serve people with visual impairments. One such program at San Francisco State University held a symposium in February 1993 to bring university faculty in orientation & mobility together to share the methods of performing mobility techniques that they each teach at their respective universities and colleges. In this symposium participants demonstrated their individual methods for performing each technique and, as a nationally representative group, came to a general consensus on acceptable standard and alternate methods for performing techniques. While the techniques presented in Step-By-Step do not represent all possible variations, they do include those that were generally endorsed by this nationally representative group and include a variety of other methods.
For Whom is the Step-By-Step Series Designed?
The Step-By-Step series is designed primarily for use by college and university students who are learning to be orientation & mobility specialists. These readers will need to learn about all of the mobility techniques used by travelers who are blind. Because of the risks and potential liabilities associated with teaching independent mobility techniques to people who are blind, it is recommended that only professionally trained orientation & mobility specialists attempt to teach all of the techniques in this series.
In addition, Step-By-Step can serve as a review tool for orientation & mobility specialists who wish to refresh or update their skills following an absence from the field. Selected modules may be of interest to teachers of the visually impaired, rehabilitation teachers, and other professionals serving people with visual impairments who may be called upon to teach or reinforce selected mobility techniques such as Human Guide and Non-Cane techniques. Some modules will be of interest to any and all who simply wish to know more about independent travel techniques used by people who are blind. For example, those who work, live, or recreate with people who are blind may wish to learn human guide skills, not for the purpose of teaching these skills but rather, to become more effective guides themselves.
Why Was the Step-By-Step Study Guide Developed?
This study guide was developed to accompany Step-By-Step: A Guide to Mobility Techniques, which is an interactive computer-based mobility curriculum on flash drive. The Step-By-Step Study Guide provides information on how to perform the techniques in an easy to follow step-by-step outline format that makes the techniques simple to learn and provides a quick reference outline for later review. In addition, the Step-By-Step Study Guide series provides information on prerequisite and related techniques, selecting teaching environments, modifications and alternative approaches to performing the technique whenever appropriate, identifying and correcting common errors in the learning process, and miscellaneous tidbits of interest to teachers. Due to space limitations, an in-depth discussion of orientation skills and independent travel by people with low vision or multiple disabilities is not possible in this study guide. However, simple modifications of the standard mobility techniques that meet the needs of travelers who have low vision or additional needs are mentioned. The list of modifications is by no means comprehensive, as this could warrant a book on its own; but hopefully these suggestions will provide a starting point for creative problem solving when serving a learner with special needs or preferences. Similarly, Step-By-Step does not attempt to be an authoritative volume on teaching strategies and lesson planning, but rather strives to provide important information in a format that is easy to read and retrieve down the road whenever it is needed.
How is Step-By-Step Used?
There are a large number of mobility techniques that are commonly used by travelers who have visual impairments. The choice of technique(s) that one uses depends upon such factors as the environment in which one is traveling, the level of one's proficiency in travel, and personal preference.
Step-By-Step is designed as a seven module series that is organized to provide a convenient way to think about these mobility techniques by grouping them around common features. The modules are listed below alphabetically:
Human Guide Techniques - traveling with another person
Long Cane Techniques - traveling with a long cane
Non-Cane Techniques - traveling without a cane
Special Environments - negotiating environments that have unique
features (e.g., revolving doors, escalators)
Special Techniques - searching for a dropped object, etc.
Street Crossing Techniques - crossing streets of various sizes and
crossing at intersections of varying shapes
Transportation Techniques - automobile, bus, and subway travel
The presentation of each technique is organized as follows:
Name of the technique
The name given for each technique is that which is commonly used in the field of orientation & mobility. When appropriate, descriptors of the name are added for clarification. When there is more than one way in which to perform a technique, it is divided into methods that are given descriptive names.
Purpose of the technique
A concise statement of the purpose gives the rationale for, and primary use of, each technique.
This section provides a list of prerequisite techniques that are necessary for optimal mastery of the target technique. Only the most relevant prerequisite techniques are listed here. Techniques that are, in themselves, prerequisite to one of the prerequisite techniques are not listed. For a comprehensive listing of all prerequisite techniques, the reader is referred to the Prerequisite Matrix described in Appendix A of this module.
In addition, some techniques are listed in the Prerequisite section that are actually not true prerequisites, but rather serve as a foundation to make it easier or more efficient for the student to develop the target skill and for the instructor to teach it. For example, it is not technically necessary for the traveler to know how to reverse directions with a guide in order to learn how to travel with a guide on stairs. Knowing this technique, however, can make it more efficient for the traveler and guide to turn around on a narrow landing if they need to return down the staircase just climbed. Such techniques are indicated by one or more asterisks and a note that explains their function in teaching and learning the target technique.
This section covers environmental features to consider when choosing areas in which to teach a specific technique. Choosing the optimal teaching and learning environment involves identifying salient environmental features that will facilitate instruction of a new technique. It also focuses on choosing environments that will provide opportunities to practice and refine the technique, culminating in its use in the natural environment. Having said this, however, teaching mobility often requires that people work in areas that are available, even if not ideal. Furthermore, not all travelers will need or want to travel in all of the listed teaching environments. For this reason, the teaching environments in this section are given as recommendations, not as absolute requirements.
This section gives a basic stepwise description of how to perform the technique. When there is only one way in which to perform a technique, it is entitled, "standard." When there is more than one way to perform a technique, it is subdivided into units referred to as "methods." The title of each method describes its most salient feature. When there is more than one way in which to perform a technique, a brief rationale is given for the use of each particular method, along with any other information that may be of interest to the reader.
The reader will notice that some methods are comprised, not of sequential steps, but of components that are performed simultaneously. When this is the case, each component is given a name that reflects its most salient feature.
While it is not possible to describe all possible skill modifications in the scope of this series, some simple modifications are given whenever possible for travelers who have low vision or who have special needs. At times these modifications are given directly below the step in the technique to which they apply. When a modification can be applied to a skill as a whole, it is listed in a separate section entitled "General Modifications."
Errors and corrections
This section provides a description of some of the most common errors that travelers and guides make when first learning a new skill or technique. Each error description is followed by a description of the needed correction and its rationale.
Notes for teachers
This section provides additional information including items of interest about the technique, social considerations in use of the techniques, and some teaching tips. The teaching tips that are provided may not be appropriate to every learner, nor do they represent a comprehensive listing. Rather, they are intended to provide suggestions to help the new teacher get started on developing his or her own teaching strategies.
Related techniques are those to which the target technique is a prerequisite or those that may use the target technique in their performance. For example, crossing a street incorporates use of the TOUCH TECHNIQUE. STREET CROSSING MECHANICS is therefore considered to be a related technique to TOUCH TECHNIQUE.
As with prerequisite techniques, only the most relevant related techniques are listed here. For a comprehensive listing of all related techniques, the reader is referred to the Prerequisite Matrix described in Appendix A.
A Few Final Words of Introduction
Step-By-Step is a seven-module series on mobility techniques used by people who are blind. Each module contains information on techniques specific to that module. In addition, the Step-By-Step series provides a number of helpful appendices, located in this module after the introduction.
It is important to note that the order in which modules and techniques are presented in the Step-By-Step Study Guide is not intended to infer any form of instructional sequence. Not all travelers learn techniques in the same order during the course of instruction.
The accompanying Step-By-Step Review Guide provides a brief outline of each technique by method and is organized by key points accompanied by pictures demonstrating each point. The Review Guide is designed for use by university students and professionals who have already learned the mobility techniques but wish to have a quick reference guide to review the steps or components of a technique prior to taking a test or working with a student during an internship experience. Similarly, professionals who have not taught a specific technique in a long time will find the Review Guide useful as a refresher prior to teaching the technique to a new traveler.
Throughout the Step-By-Step series, the term "traveler" is used to refer to a person with a visual impairment who is learning and/or performing the mobility technique(s) discussed. In turn, the term "guide" refers to a person acting as a human guide. This might be the orientation & mobility specialist, teacher, rehabilitation worker, health care worker, a family member, or anyone else who is guiding the traveler. Finally, whenever the name of another technique within the series is mentioned, it is printed in all capital letters to highlight it for the reader.
To avoid the use of gender-biased language, gender specific pronouns for traveler and guide vary to match the photographs that demonstrate key components of each technique. Users of Step-By-Step: A Guide to Mobility Techniques will also find that the gender designations assigned in the study guide match those of the traveler and guide in the Step-By-Step video clips.
As is the nature of any text on orientation & mobility (or of most professional texts for that matter), Step-By-Step is not a stand-alone tutorial on how to be an orientation & mobility specialist. Rather, it is intended primarily for use in conjunction with college and university professional preparation in orientation & mobility. It is also designed as a companion to the interactive computer-based mobility curriculum on flash drive entitled Step-By-Step: A Guide to Mobility Techniques, and the Step-By-Step Review Guide. Step-By-Step's book format allows it to contain information that is not available in the computer-based curriculum.
Anthony, T., Bleier, H., Fazzi, D., Kish, D., & Pogrund, R. (2002). Mobility focus: Developing early skills for orientation and mobility. In R. Pogrund & D. Fazzi (Eds.), Early focus: Working with young children who are blind or visually impaired and their families (2nd ed., pp. 326-404). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Crews, J., & Clark, H. (1997). Orientation and mobility for the older
person. In B. Blasch, W. Wiener, & R. Welsh (Eds.), Foundations of orientation and mobility (2nd ed., pp. 439-455). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Crudden, A., McBroom, L., Skinner, A., & Moore, E. (1998). Comprehensive examination of barriers to employment among persons who are blind or visually impaired. (Report No. 1998-05-00). Mississippi State Rehabilitation Research and Training Center of Blindness and Low Vision. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 419309).
Dodds, A., & Davis, D. (1989). Assessment of low vision clients for
mobility. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 83, 439-446.
Geruschat, D., & Smith, A. (1997). Low vision and mobility. In B. Blasch, W. Wiener, & R. Welsh (Eds.), Foundations of orientation and mobility (2nd ed., pp. 60-103). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Gervasoni, E. (1996). Strategies and techniques used by a person who is totally deaf and blind to obtain assistance in crossing streets. RE:view, 28, 53-58.
Griffin-Shirley, N., & Groff, G. (1993). Prescriptions for independence: Working with older people who are visually impaired. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Hill, E., & Ponder, P. (1976). Orientation and mobility techniques: A guide for the practitioner. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Hill, M. M., & Hill, E. (1991). Provision of high-quality orientation and
mobility services to older persons with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 85, 402-408.
Huebner, K. (1995). Orientation and mobility: Basic concepts and
techniques. In K. Huebner, J. Prickett, T. Welch, & E. Joffee (Eds.), Hand in hand: Essentials of communication and orientation & mobility for your students who are deaf-blind (Vol. 1, pp. 549-574). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Jacobson, W. (1993). The art and science of teaching orientation and mobility to persons with visual impairments. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Joffee, E., & Ehresman, P. (1997). Learners with visual and cognitive impairments. In B. Blasch, W. Wiener, & R. Welsh (Eds.), Foundations of orientation and mobility (2nd ed., pp. 483-499). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Johnson, J. (2002). Why rural elders drive against advice. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 19, 237-244.
Knott, N. (2002). Teaching orientation and mobility in the schools: An instructor's companion. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
LaGrow, S., & Weessies, M. (1994). Orientation & mobility: Techniques for independence. New Zealand: The Dunmore Press Limited.
Lolli, D., & Sauerburger, D. (1997). Learners with visual and hearing impairments. In B. Blasch, W. Wiener, & R. Welsh (Eds.), Foundations of orientation and mobility (2nd ed., pp. 513-529). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Long, R., Rieser, J., & Hill, E. (1990). Mobility in individuals with moderate visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 84, 111-118.
Ludt, R., & Goodrich, G. (2002). Change in visual perceptual detection distances for low vision travelers as a result of dynamic visual assessment and training. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 96, 7-21.
Miller, J. (2002). The role of orientation and mobility instructors and
rehabilitation teachers in enhancing employment opportunities for persons who are visually impaired. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 96, 852-855.
Pogrund, R., & Rosen, S. (1989). The preschool blind child can be a cane user. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 83, 431-438.
Rosen, S. (1997). Learners with visual and physical impairments. In B.
Blasch, W. Wiener, & R. Welsh (Eds.), Foundations of orientation and mobility (2nd ed., pp. 456-482). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Sauerburger, D., & Jones, S. (1997). Corner to corner: How can deaf-blind travelers solicit aid effectively? RE:view, 29, 34-44.
Skellenger, A., & Hill, E. (1997). The preschool learner. In B. Blasch, W. Wiener, & R. Welsh (Eds.), Foundations of orientation and mobility (2nd ed., pp. 407-438). New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Yassuda, M. (1997). Driving cessation: The perspective of senior drivers. Educational Gerontology, 23, 525-538.
PREREQUISITE AND RELATED TECHNIQUES
There is no one specific order in which travelers learn mobility techniques. Rather, the order in which mobility skills are taught depends upon a number of factors. These factors include such things as a person's immediate travel needs, whether or not the traveler has acquired the prerequisite skills to learn a specific technique, and the type of environments in which the person wishes to travel.
The prerequisite matrix located in the envelope bound to this module provides a visual overview of techniques that are, in some fashion, relevant to the technique to be learned. This matrix is not intended as a guide that dictates in which order to teach mobility skills. Rather, once the orientation & mobility specialist has considered the factors mentioned above and has identified the technique(s) to be taught, this table provides a quick checklist of techniques that can enhance the learning process.
There are actually five different situations in which one technique might be considered to be "relevant" to another. They are presented below. Each one is identified by a letter that corresponds to its identification on the matrix.
Knowing this technique is a prerequisite to learning the target technique (e.g., HUMAN GUIDE is a prerequisite to CARRYING A CANE WHEN WALKING WITH A GUIDE).
Knowing this technique is only prerequisite to learning one or more of the methods in the target technique (e.g., HUMAN GUIDE is only used in some methods of SEATING).
Although not essential, knowing this technique (or a specified portion of it) may be useful in learning at least one method or modification of the target technique. Knowing this technique may also make the teaching process easier (e.g., the Contacting Objects portion of the CONTACTING & EXPLORING OBJECTS WITH A CANE technique is used in many long cane skills; a variation of the TRAILING technique can be used in TRANSFERRING SIDES).
This technique may be used in conjunction with the target
technique, depending on the specific environmental circumstances (e.g., a traveler who is not using his cane may use the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique in conjunction with the TRAVERSING OPEN SPACES technique in a controlled, familiar environment to detect a table in his way).
This technique may be helpful to the teaching process (e.g., REVERSING DIRECTION WITH A GUIDE enables the traveler and guide to turn around on a landing in order to travel back on the same stairway that they just ascended or descended). This technique may also provide the traveler with prior experiences that may make learning the target skill less intimidating (e.g. learning ESCALATORS WITH A CANE AND GUIDE may provide a helpful, supportive experience for the traveler before she learns to negotiate escalators independently using the ESCALATORS WITH A CANE technique).
By reading across a row, the user can identify those techniques that are relevant in some way to learning the specific technique.
By reading down a column, the user can identify those techniques to which a specific technique is related.
To position or store the cane so that it is easily accessible and out of the way of other people
Begin in a quiet, familiar area with places in which a cane can fit easily (e.g., on a hook; or under a chair, bench, or couch).
Progress to unfamiliar and crowded areas
with a variety of seating arrangements; and
in which the cane sometimes cannot fit easily (e.g., cars, buses, restaurant booths, auditorium seating, circular tables).
When seated for a short period of time
The traveler can place the cane tip between his feet and hold the vertical shaft securely between his knees. Holding onto the crook or the shaft with one hand keeps the cane from slipping out of position and contacting objects or other people inadvertently.
Alternatively, the traveler can place the cane tip securely between his feet and gently hold the cane shaft between his knees, allowing the grip or crook to rest against his shoulder.
When seated for a longer period of time
The size, shape, position, and arrangement of the seats will determine
which technique the traveler will use for storing the cane.
When seated in a chair
The traveler uses the technique detailed on the previous page, "When seated for a short period of time."
When seated on a bench or sofa
The traveler places the cane under the bench or sofa either parallel or diagonal to its length. The crook of the cane faces under the bench or sofa so that no one can trip on it.
The traveler may find it helpful to keep one foot on the cane and/ or place the crook (if there is one) around the leg of the bench or sofa. This helps to prevent the cane from rolling and will also make it easier to locate later.
When seated at a table
The traveler places the cane under the table either parallel or diagonal to its length.
Again, he may find it helpful to keep one foot on the cane and/or place the crook (if there is one) around the leg of the table. This prevents the cane from rolling and makes it easier to locate later.
When traveling in an automobile
The traveler brings the cane into the car placing the tip on the floorboard between his foot and the near door. He then
— places the shaft over his shoulder; or
— lets the shaft rest between the seat and the closed door (when seated in the front seat or the back seat of a four-door auto) or over the seat back next to the car wall (when seated in the back of a two-door auto).
When seated in a restaurant booth, automobile, touring bus, train, or airplane The traveler places the cane tip on the floor next to his foot and lays the shaft over the seat back, close to the wall.
If there is sufficient space between the seat and the car wall (or door), the traveler may slide the shaft down in this space instead of resting it on the seat back.
The traveler holds the cane vertically next to his body, with the tip on the
ground. He can either
hold the shaft with his hand; or
rest the shaft against his trunk and hold it securely with his forearm.
Other storage options
If the cane has a crook, the traveler can hang it on a hook, clothes bar,
It is generally not recommended to hang a cane by its elastic cord because the cord can stretch and lose its elasticity.
The traveler can place the cane vertically in a corner, against a wall, or lean it against a stationary object; or he can lay the cane on the floor along a wall, if circumstances allow.
Folding and Telescoping Canes
Folding and telescoping canes can be stored easily in purses, on shelves, or under seats.
The traveler holds the cane vertically and places his hands on either side of the top joint.
Holding the cane vertically while folding it prevents the cane from interfering with other people.
He gently and smoothly pulls the sections apart, folding the top section down parallel to the second section and repeating this procedure for each succeeding section.
The traveler must be sure to hold the sections securely after folding so they will not spring back into the unfolded position.
After folding the entire cane, the traveler secures it by stretching the elastic cord the length of the folded cane and slipping the small loop over the end of the bundled sections.
Note: It is recommended to fold the cane only when absolutely necessary because
— a folded cane is not ready for use if needed quickly; and
— repeated folding and unfolding causes wear and tear on the joints and the elastic cord.
Holding the sections of the cane securely together, the traveler releases the cord.
The traveler holds the folded cane vertically (at the height of the extended cane), and gently releases his grip on all but the top section. The cane snaps into place.
The traveler must be sure that no one is near enough to be hit by the cane as it unfolds.
Alternatively, the traveler can unfold the cane section-by-section beginning at the top. This method best ensures that the cane will not accidentally hit someone while snapping into place.
The traveler holds the cane vertically and rotates the lock at each joint to release them.
Some canes will not have locks at each section.
He collapses each section into the one above it, beginning with the top two sections.
The traveler rotates the bottom of the cane, if needed, to unlock the sections. He then holds the cane vertically (at the height of the extended cane), and lets the sections drop into place.
He rotates the lock at each section (if necessary) to secure the sections in place.
NOTES FOR TEACHERS
It is important to teach cane handling and placement skills early in the course of cane instruction. This includes the importance of positioning the cane properly so that it is easily retrieved, ready for use, and out of the way of other people. If the traveler stores the cane out of immediate reach, it is important to identify landmarks that enable cane location and retrieval.
City Bus Travel
MEASURING THE LONG CANE
To determine the proper cane length for optimum safety, efficiency, and performance of all techniques that involve the use of the long cane
The cane should be long enough to detect obstacles far enough in advance to allow the traveler time to react and to avoid unwanted body contact with the object. At the same time, however, the cane should not be so long that it interferes with pedestrians or detects obstacles outside of the travel path.
Begin in an open area with level ground and a straight path for the traveler to follow. Floor surfaces with a repeating pattern (e.g., a checkerboard) and sidewalks provide visual markers to use in comparing the location of the cane tip as it contacts the walking surface and the placement of the foot in the following step.
When it is necessary to visually assess cane length in an environment without natural visual landmarks, it may be possible to pick out lines normally occurring in the environment (e.g., expansion cracks between sidewalk sections) and use them to determine if the student is either over- or under-stepping the cane. Final adjustments to cane length may be made based on these observations.
Alternatively, it may be possible to securely tape a piece of chalk to the cane tip. As the traveler walks using the TOUCH (Constant Contact) technique, the chalk will leave a mark on the path. This mark can be used to determine where the foot steps in relation to where the cane tip contacted the ground.
Progress to complex environments with obstacles that the traveler will detect with the cane. Note whether or not the traveler has sufficient time to react at all anticipated walking speeds when the cane contacts an obstacle.
DETERMINING THE PROPER CANE LENGTH
At a normal walking pace, the cane tip should contact the ground where the ball of the traveler's foot will step next.
If the cane is too long, it will contact objects too soon, it will contact items unnecessarily, and it may be more difficult to store and maneuver.
If the cane is too short, the traveler will overstep where the cane contacts the ground and may walk into obstacles or hazards.
Generally, a cane is first measured for a traveler before he or she has learned independent cane techniques. In this case, it is necessary to initially estimate the proper length based on the traveler's height. Here are the steps to do this:
The orientation & mobility specialist holds the cane vertically in front of the traveler's body while the traveler stands straight and still. The orientation & mobility specialist holds the cane with the crook or top end of the shaft touching the ground.
The orientation & mobility specialist marks the initial length of the cane at the height of any number of body landmarks. Landmarks often used include (a) a point approximately 2 inches above the bottom of the sternum (breastbone), or (b) at the base of the traveler's armpit (Jacobson, 1993). Other commonly used landmarks include the top of the traveler's sternum, the bottom of his or her chin, or in some cases, even the top of his or her head. The initial length chosen is often determined by the traveler's anticipated walking speed, reaction time, and personal preference for cane length. An important consideration here is that the cane length, at any time during a traveler's program, must be sufficiently long to enable optimum detection of obstacles and to allow safe travel at any speed a traveler should choose to walk.
Some orientation & mobility specialists find it best to measure the cane slightly longer than necessary reasoning that it can be cut shorter as the traveler's reaction time and skills develop. If this length should turn out to be too long, it is easy to cut the length at a later date. If, however, a longer cane is needed later, a new cane must be issued (Jacobson, 1993).
And yet, some travelers will learn best by initially using a cane that matches their stride and reaction time. They can later change to a longer cane if their walking speed increases over the course of instruction.
NOTES FOR TEACHERS
The length of the cane can vary at different times in training depending upon the traveler's confidence and ability to use proper cane techniques. For example, the cane may get longer as the traveler gets more confident and moves faster in the environment. Conversely, it can get shorter as the traveler gains efficiency and reliability in reacting to obstacles and hazards that the cane detects.
As the traveler learns and refines his or her performance of the TOUCH technique, the length of the cane is refined to best match his or her speed, stride, and reaction time.
Jacobson, W. (1993). The art and science of teaching orientation and mobility to persons with visual impairments. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.
Accessible pedestrian signals (APS):
A device that communicates information about pedestrian timing in non-visual formats such as audible tones, verbal messages, and/or vibrating surfaces
To position one's body in relation to an object or sound to establish a line of direction and a definite position in the environment
Placing the body next to an object or sound so as to establish a travel path parallel to the direction of a stationary object or path of a moving object as determined by the sound that it makes
Placing the body next to an object or sound so as to establish a travel path perpendicular to the direction of a stationary object or path of a moving object as determined by the sound that it makes
To firmly secure one's cane against an object so that the cane does not move as one approaches the object more closely
Pattern made by the cane tip when moved left and right in the process of clearing or in the performance of TOUCH technique or related cane techniques
Signal given by the guide to bring the traveler forward alongside him (e.g., before beginning to walk down a stairway, before entering a row of theater seats); the guide pulls his arm forward until the traveler is beside him and then tenses his arm to prevent the traveler from stepping too far forward.
An audible tone used in conjunction with accessible pedestrian signals; its purpose is to provide directional information to assist travelers in locating the destination corner.
Affecting or involving both the left and right sides of the body
The intersection of a sidewalk and street where the surfaces of the two meet at the same level; the sidewalk is not at an elevation above the curb, nor is there a descending ramp connecting a higher sidewalk and a lower street surface. Blended curbs were originally designed to remove architectural barriers for wheelchair users.
A slight arch in the surface of the street designed to allow rain to run toward the drains in the gutter
Instrument used by travelers who have visual impairments for the purpose of object, obstacle, and hazard detection
Curved section of the cane above the grip; present on only some cane models
Top portion of the cane; the part that is held by the traveler
Long tubular section comprising the body of the cane
Bottom section of the cane; the part that contacts the ground. Tips are available in varying sizes, shapes, and materials. Some sample cane tips are shown in Figure 1.
Cane hand or arm:
Hand or arm that holds and controls the long cane
To feel the ground with the long cane to detect any obstacles that may be in the travel path; to feel a surface (e.g., a chair) with one's hand to detect any objects that might be in the way
Process of sweeping the cane on the ground to determine whether the path is clear or whether obstacles or hazards are present; the process of sweeping a surface with one's hand to determine whether the area is clear or contains objects.
An area in which there are numerous people and/or obstacles around which the traveler must maneuver to continue on his travel path
Continuity of movement:
Uninterrupted movement in travel (e.g., walking without stopping or pausing)
Environment in which the presence and/or location of objects cannot change without prior knowledge of the traveler
The corner from which the traveler starts when crossing the street
The corner at which the traveler arrives after crossing the street
Corner at which a curved radius connects the curbs of the parallel and perpendicular streets; see Figure 2.
Corner at which the curbs of the parallel and perpendicular streets meet at a 90 degree angle; see Figure 3.
The highest point in the camber of a street; it is generally located at the center point of the street.
A portion of the sidewalk that lowers gradually from its present elevation to the elevation of the street as it nears the corner; curb ramps were originally designed to remove architectural barriers for wheelchair users.
Most commonly applied to such locations as the edges of subway platforms, curb ramps, and blended curbs, detectable warnings are tactually detectable surface features that are either built in or applied to walking surfaces or other elements to warn of hazards. They are intended to function much like a stop sign and to alert pedestrians who are visually impaired to the presence of a hazard in the line of travel.
Direction of travel:
The direction in which the traveler moves when traveling forward without turning
A door that remains open unless closed intentionally; it is usually located in the interior of a building.
A door that is opened by pulling on a door handle
A door that is opened by pushing on a bar, plate, or handle
A door that is designed to close automatically unless held open; it is usually found in public buildings.
The vertical border on the face of a door; along with rails (horizontal elements), stiles form the outside vertical border of doors and are most visible on doors that have inset glass or wood panels (see Figure 4). For the purposes of negotiating doors, a hand-span wide vertical strip along the face of flat doors will also be considered the stile.
A method for attracting the attention of drivers and signaling the traveler's intention to step off of the curb and cross the street; the traveler taps the cane three times in a normal arc pattern, stepping off of the curb with the third tap.
A primary landmark used for orientation or re-orientation; often used to mark the beginning point of a search pattern
The traveler's arm that is not being used to hold a guide's arm or a long cane
A method of holding the cane in which the traveler's forefinger lays flat alongside the cane grip, pointing downward; the remaining fingers and the thumb encircle the cane grip (see Figure 5).
A method of holding the cane in which the cane grip rests in the base of the web of the thumb and forefinger, both of which are extended down the cane shaft; her remaining fingers are flexed, with her middle finger supporting the weight of the cane (see Figure 6).
The arm that the traveler is using to grasp the guide's arm
The arm of the traveler that is being grasped by another person
The arm of the guide that the traveler is grasping
A metal wire used to aid stability in some tall structures (e.g., utility poles); it is attached near the top of the structure on one end and into the ground several feet from the structure at the other end.
Object in the environment that cannot be detected by the traveler prior to making body contact (e.g., hanging objects that the long cane cannot detect)
Coordination between foot placement and cane motion when performing the TOUCH technique and related cane techniques
An intersection at which two streets cross at a 90 degree angle to each other
An intersection at which traffic can approach from any of four directions
An intersection at which the continuation beyond the intersection of one or more streets is displaced laterally from an imaginary line continuing from the approach section of that street; see Figure 7.
A junction of two or more streets at which there is a center circle through which vehicles may not pass; traffic enters the junction, flows in a path around the circumference of the circle, and then exits on any of the intersecting streets (see Figure 8).
An intersection at which two streets cross at other than a 90 degree angle to each other; see Figure 9.
An intersection at which two streets meet, forming the configuration of the capital letter "T"; see Figure 10.
An intersection at which traffic can approach from any of three directions
An intersection at which streets meet, forming the configuration of the capital letter "Y" (or an inverted "Y"). Traffic can approach from any of three directions (see Figure 11).
The traveler's foot that is placed slightly ahead of the other when waiting to step off of a curb, exit an escalator, etc.
Line of travel:
Direction of travel in which one is positioned to move or in which one is moving
A sound that blocks out, or interferes with, the reception of a desired sound
A raised (or sometimes painted) section of the street that separates traffic moving in opposite directions; it may be made of concrete or dirt, or it may have signs, poles, or even have plants or grass on it. If the median strip is raised, then a cement curb usually borders it.
The imaginary line that divides the body into equal left and right halves
The hand or arm opposite of which is holding and controlling the cane
Non-grasp(ed) hand or arm:
The hand or arm opposite the grasp or grasped arm
A goal; in mobility this word is sometimes used to indicate a destination to which one is traveling.
Object in the environment that blocks the travel path
Lack of coordination between foot placement and cane motion when performing the TOUCH technique and related cane techniques
A relationship between two or more lines or surfaces such that they extend in the same direction and are equidistant from one another throughout their lengths
A strip of land located between the sidewalk and the street; it may be planted with grass, trees, or shrubs, or may be covered in decorative stones or other materials.
Specialized devices frequently installed on corners at signalized intersections to alter traffic flow to allow pedestrians to cross the street; they also may be located on median strips for use by pedestrians who are unable to cross the entire street before the end of the pedestrian clearance interval.
A relationship between two or more lines or surfaces such that they extend in directions that form a right angle (90 degrees) to one another
A fixed point within an environment that is used to establish or apply an orientation or reference system
The set of laws that govern which vehicle has the right-of-way in various traffic situations such as when entering an intersection or a roundabout
Intersections at which only the minor street has sensors or detectors to trigger a change of phase; the major street typically has a green light until a car waiting on the minor street triggers a change in the signal. The light will change just long enough for the cars grouped together on the minor street to turn onto or cross the major street, up to a preset maximum timing. Depending upon the amount of traffic present on the minor street, there may or may not be sufficient time for a traveler to cross the street safely before the signal changes.
Border or edge of a sidewalk, grass line, or any continuous point of reference that can be followed or used to establish a line of direction
The edge of the sidewalk farthest away from the street
The edge of the sidewalk closest to the street
Cement pathway that usually parallels the street; often referred to as the "public sidewalk"
An intersection at which traffic patterns are controlled by traffic lights displaying red, yellow, and green signals
The front-to-back dimension of each stair
The vertical distance from one stair to the next
The horizontal edge on the front of each stair where the tread and the top of the riser meet; see Figure 12.
The vertical surface between steps; see Figure 12.
The horizontal surface upon which a traveler steps; see Figure 12.
The side-to-side dimension of each stair
A street on which traffic moves in a direction that is parallel to the movement or projected movement of the traveler
A street on which traffic moves in a direction that is perpendicular to the movement or projected movement of the traveler
The sound made by a group of vehicles as they begin to move forward simultaneously from a stopped position at an intersection (i.e., as a red light turns green)
Channelized right-turn lane:
Located at signalized intersections where there is typically a large volume of vehicles making right-hand turns from one street onto the other; the channelized lane is separated from other traffic lanes by what is called a "splitter island" or "right-turn island." This triangular-shaped island may be raised or indicated by painted markings on the street.
The lane of the street that is immediately adjacent to the curb; traffic is allowed to move in this lane.
Lane(s) on the parallel street that is (are) farthest from the traveler; see Figure 13.
Lane(s) on the perpendicular street that is (are) farthest from the traveler; see Figure 13.
Lane(s) on the parallel street that is (are) nearest to the traveler; see Figure 13.
Lane(s) on the perpendicular street that is (are) nearest to the traveler; see Figure 13.
Actuated traffic signals use detectors located in the pavement on the approaches to a signalized intersection. This is done in order to monitor traffic volume and assign time intervals for right-of-way based on traffic flow.
The amount of time required for one complete sequence of signal phases
Don't Walk interval:
See "Pedestrian clearance interval."
Exclusive pedestrian phase:
Also referred to as the "scramble phase," it is generally used in large, downtown areas with large concentrations of pedestrian traffic; during this phase, all vehicular traffic stops and allows pedestrians to cross in any direction at the intersection including diagonally.
Fixed-time (or pre-timed):
Traffic signals that assign a fixed-time interval to each traffic signal phase regardless of traffic demand
The portion of the signal cycle during which a signal remains unchanged
A specialized button at a signalized intersection that, when pushed, alerts the signal controller that a person is waiting to cross the street. The controller, in turn, will adjust the timing of the signals to allow the person sufficient time to cross the street.
Pedestrian clearance interval:
The segment of time at a signalized intersection in which there remains time for pedestrians already in the street to complete their crossing, but insufficient time to begin a crossing; this interval is usually denoted by a flashing "Don't Walk" sign or an orange hand-shaped figure on the pedhead or the cessation of any audible sounds and tactile vibrations from APS devices. This is also called a "pedestrian change interval."
Pedestrian coundtown signal:
A display connected to traffic signals that shows the number of seconds left in the pedestrian clearance interval
Pedestrian head ("pedhead"):
A lighted sign, usually a square box, attached to a traffic signal and usually located immediately below the green light or arrow; the pedhead will display either words or symbols to indicate to pedestrians whether or not the controller has set the timing of the signals to allow the pedestrian sufficient time to cross the perpendicular street before traffic is allowed to move on that street.
Pedestrian head-start phasing:
Also known as "pedestrian lead-in phasing," it provides a walk phase for pedestrians prior to providing parallel vehicle traffic with a green light. All directions of traffic see a brief all red phase during this time. It is used primarily at intersections with heavy combinations of pedestrian traffic and turning vehicles.
Pedestrian Walk interval:
The segment of time at a signalized intersection during which there remains sufficient time for a traveler to step off of the curb and complete the crossing before the traffic phase changes; this interval is usually denoted by a steady white sign on the pedhead displaying either the word "WALK" or the white figure of a person walking. If APS devices are present and activated, they will be emitting audible sounds and/or tactile vibrations during this interval.
The portion of a cycle during which any combination of one or more traffic movements simultaneously receive the right of way during one or more intervals
The situation in which the pedestrian signal to cross the minor street continually indicates a pedestrian Walk interval unless a vehicle on the minor street approaches the intersection or the pedestrian button is pressed to cross the major street.
Traffic signals that may be found at an intersection of a major street with a minor street; traffic detectors are located only on the minor street. Traffic on the major street will have a continuous green light unless a car approaches the intersection on the minor street.
Intersection at which the flow of traffic is controlled by lighted traffic signals
Vehicular clearance interval:
The interval at a signalized intersection in which there is a combination of a yellow change interval and a brief interval of time during which all vehicular signals are red before the signal changes to the next interval
See "Pedestrian Walk interval."
Traffic (types of)
Traffic moving on the parallel street in the lane(s) farthest from the traveler
Traffic moving on the perpendicular street in the lane(s) farthest from the traveler
Traffic moving on the parallel street in the lane(s) nearest to the traveler
Traffic moving on the perpendicular street in the lane(s) nearest to the traveler
Traffic that moves in a direction opposite to the movement or projected movement of the traveler
Traffic that moves in a direction that is parallel to the movement or projected movement of the traveler
Traffic that moves in a direction that is perpendicular to the movement or projected movement of the traveler
Traffic that moves in the same direction as the movement or projected movement of the traveler
Traffic that moves straight through an intersection without turning
Using a long cane or one's hand to follow a straight surface (i.e., walls, lockers, desks, tables, etc.) or a guide's back for a number of purposes: (a) determining one's place in space, (b) locating specific objects or the guide's arm, and (c) maintaining a straight and parallel line of travel
The traveler's foot that is placed slightly behind the other when waiting to step off of a curb, exit an escalator, etc.
To cross an open area without following the shoreline (e.g., parkway, room, or hallway)
Environment in which the presence and/or location of objects may change without prior knowledge of the traveler
Intersections at which traffic patterns are not controlled by traffic lights displaying red, yellow, and green signals
To drift off-course or unintentionally change one's direction of travel
Pathway that leads from the public sidewalk to a specific building or location
White Cane Laws:
Laws included in the Uniform Vehicle Code of most states; "White Cane Laws" state that the driver of a vehicle shall not approach a crosswalk or any other pedestrian crossing without taking all necessary precautions to avoid accident or injury to a blind pedestrian who is carrying a cane or using a guide dog. It should be noted, however, that the exact wording and specifications vary from state to state.
Sandra Rosen San Francisco State University
Kevin Kelly San Francisco State University
Directors of Photography
John Antonelli Mill Valley Film Group
Rick Tessman McLean Media
Will Parrinello, Gerry Berkowitz Mill Valley Film Group
Jean Jacques Chaltiel
Peter White, Jim Smith Versatile Video
Online Video Editors
Greg Berg, Rhys Ludlow Videotracs Post
Offline Video Editors
John Antonelli, Will Parrinello Mill Valley Film Group
Miriam Emmanuel, Marlene Lowry, Dennis Mink, Michele Moore, O'Neil Provost
Joaquin Aranda, Karl Baker, Michele Germany, Sharon Hudson, Alec Karp, Alice Rose, Christina Bollengier, Carlos Winborn
John Antonelli, Gabriel Aranda, Geof Bell, Dorothy Durkee, Thuto Durkee, Anthony Fletcher, Eric Germany, Rebecca Haycox, Elizabeth Hom, Neesa Johnson, Rosanne Liggett, Marlene Lowry, Dennis Mink, Michele Moore, Brett Oppenheim, Will Parrinello, O'Neil Provost, Sandra Rosen, Linda Tabor-Beck, Simon Tarlen, Bill Wisner
Gil Johnson, Director American Foundation for the Blind West
Alameda County Transportation Authority Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
Robert LaDuke, Ph.D. Western Michigan University
Bill Bryan Stephen F. Austin University
Bill Jacobson, Ed.D. University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Annette Skellenger, Ph.D. Western Michigan University
Jim Leja Western Michigan University
Mary-Maureen Snook-Atkins, Ph.D. Mohawk College
Diane Fazzi, Ph.D. California State University, Los Angeles
Wendy Scheffers San Francisco State University
Linda Myers San Francisco State University
MODULES IN THE STEP-BY-STEP SERIES
HUMAN GUIDE TECHNIQUES
Without a Cane
Basic Human Guide
Narrow Spaces With a Guide
Reversing Direction With a Guide
Doors With a Guide
Stairs With a Guide
With a Cane
Carrying a Cane When Walking With a Guide
Narrow Spaces With a Cane and Guide
Reversing Direction With a Cane and Guide
Transferring Sides When Carrying a Cane
Doors With a Cane and Guide
Stairs With a Cane and Guide
LONG CANE TECHNIQUES
Touch and Slide
Touch and Drag
Negotiating Stairs and Doors
Doors With a Cane
Stairs With a Cane
Negotiating Obstacles and Reorientation
Obstacles in the Travel Path
Vehicles in the Travel Path
STREET CROSSING TECHNIQUES
Approach & Alignment
Street Crossing Approach
Street Crossing Alignment