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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Text and Materials Development
Sandra Rosen

Project Leaders
Terrie (Mary T.) Terlau
Rosanne Hoffmann

Graphics and Photography
Sandra Rosen
Terri Gilmore
Bisig Impact Group

Production Team
Lila Adkins
Cary Crumpton
Darlene Donhoff
Anna Fox
Frank Hayden
David Hines
Karen Marshall
Lou Tingle
Phyllis Williams

Expert Reviewers
Nora Griffin-Shirley
Julie Hapeman
Donna Brostek Lee
Richard Long
Grace Ambrose Zaken

INTRODUCTION

Historically called "pre-cane" skills, these techniques are referred to now by a variety of names including "directional techniques" and "self-protective techniques." The early designation of "pre-cane" skills may have had its origin in the assumption that, because they were often simpler to teach and learn than basic cane techniques, O&M specialists would naturally teach them before teaching cane skills. In reality, these techniques are an integral part of travel both with and without a cane. They are not necessarily prerequisite to learning cane skills, but rather they are taught often in conjunction with human guide or cane skills depending upon a specific traveler's interests, abilities, and travel needs.

Non-cane techniques have many purposes and are used selectively for specific purposes. They are divided into two basic categories: self-protective techniques and directional techniques. While the basic techniques within each category initially are taught and used in indoor familiar places when traveling without a cane, each can also be used in conjunction with a cane or other travel mode during advanced travel in specific environmental or travel situations.

Self-Protective Techniques

Self-protective techniques are used to detect objects in the travel path that are located at a level that is too high to be detected by a long cane. Such objects found outdoors include low tree branches, signs, or guy wires. Indoor objects at chest or head height (such as public telephones, light fixtures, or chandeliers) can be mounted on recessed stands or suspended from the ceiling, or extend out from the wall. Self-protective techniques do not detect hazards or obstacles at foot level such as a descending stairway or children's toys left on the floor. Therefore, when performed alone, they are generally used for travel along a limited distance in a familiar, controlled environment (Hill & Ponder, 1976). By extension, these techniques may be used when traveling with other primary mobility aids to detect or protect oneself from unwanted contact with objects in the environment that may not be detected with the cane.

Directional Techniques

Safe, efficient travel depends upon first establishing and following an accurate line of direction. Directional techniques consist of both trailing and direction-taking techniques. Trailing is a technique used to follow a surface (e.g., a wall) to find an objective along that surface (e.g., a specific doorway). It is also used to establish and maintain a line of direction for travelers who have difficulty doing so when not in direct contact with a vertical surface. Direction-taking techniques help establish a line of travel through open space to arrive at a specific destination most efficiently. These techniques involve aligning oneself to a wall, piece of furniture, or other environmental feature before walking through open space to one's destination. By extension, they may involve using auditory (e.g., traffic sounds) or tactile information (e.g., grass border alongside a path) detected during the course of travel to monitor and correct one's direction along the way. Direction-taking techniques involve one of two types of alignment, perpendicular alignment or parallel alignment.

Perpendicular alignment prepares the traveler to initiate movement (LaGrow & Weessies, 1994). By establishing a line of direction perpendicular to a specific object in the environment, the traveler projects a straight line of travel through open space to arrive at her desired destination. Initially, this may involve simply establishing a perpendicular alignment of one's body to a wall in order to cross a short hallway or walk across a room to arrive at the other side. In later travel, perpendicular alignment establishes a straight and accurate line of direction through larger open areas and even across a street. In this latter case, the traveler may align her body in a perpendicular direction to a straight curb edge, or she may even listen to identify the general direction of traffic flow in front of her for traffic and then align her body perpendicularly to the direction of flow. She then projects and follows a straight line of travel across the street.

Parallel alignment, on the other hand, establishes an initial line of travel but also facilitates self-correction of one's line of direction during travel (LaGrow & Weessies, 1994). For example, the traveler can use parallel alignment to follow a wall to arrive at a specific destination, or he can maintain a consistent direction of travel parallel to a grass border along a sidewalk to minimize veering off course. Similarly, the traveler preparing to cross the street may use the sounds of traffic on the street beside her to establish a straight and accurate line of travel across the street.

This module contains five non-cane techniques. These techniques are divided into two sections: Self-Protective Techniques and Directional Techniques. In addition to serving vital functions in safe, independent travel by travelers who are blind, non-cane techniques also form the foundation for a host of techniques involving use of the long cane and crossing streets. Examples of such techniques include using a cane to follow a curb and locate a bus pole, walking around objects in the travel path, and establishing a straight line of travel across a street. Non-cane techniques are also prerequisite to many special techniques such as searching for dropped objects and seating.

SELF-PROTECTIVE

LOWER HAND AND FOREARM



PURPOSE

To locate objects at waist level and to protect the lower trunk from undesired contact with objects when the traveler is not using a cane; it is a natural way to locate chairs, doorknobs, and other objects at, or just below, waist level. Because this technique is not used in conjunction with a long cane, it is generally only used in familiar, controlled environments.

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

None

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, familiar, and controlled indoor environment in which the traveler will contact objects at lower body height (e.g., chair, table, desk, trashcan, water fountain, or wall). Initially, the traveler should only need to walk short distances (e.g., 4-5 feet) before locating target objects.

Progress to a quiet, familiar, and controlled indoor environment that provides longer distances to traverse before contacting target objects.

Practice this technique in a variety of environments that may typically require the use of this skill (e.g., crossing rooms and hallways within one's home, moving through classrooms or offices, crossing hallways in school or office buildings).

SKILLS

Standard

A simple method of providing limited lower body protection when walking without a cane

Unlike most mobility techniques, the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique is not taught or performed as a series of sequential steps. Rather, it is taught as a grouping of components that are performed simultaneously.

The traveler positions her body as she walks in the following way (see Figures 1.01a and 1.01b):

Holding her hand 6-8 inches in front of her body allows sufficient time to react when the traveler contacts objects; holding her hand farther forward may increase her reaction time, but it will decrease downward coverage.

Pointing her fingers downward extends the coverage slightly lower and protects her fingertips from injury when she contacts objects.

Figure 1.01a
The Lower Hand and Forearm position; Front view.
 
Figure 1.01b
The Lower Hand and Forearm position; Side view.

GENERAL MODIFICATIONS

The following modifications are used occasionally in specific environmental situations:

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler holds her wrist straight with her fingers pointing slightly forward.

Correction:
Holding her wrist bent downward with her fingers relaxed provides the traveler with slightly lower coverage and protects her fingertips from injury when contacting objects.

Error:
The traveler fails to hold her hand at midline.

Correction:
Holding her hand at midline provides maximum body protection when the traveler contacts objects and also helps to maintain a straight line of travel.

Error:
The traveler holds her hand at midline, 3-4 inches in front of her body.

Correction:
The traveler should hold her hand 6-8 inches in front of her body. This ensures that she will have sufficient time to react when she encounters objects.

Error:
The traveler holds her arm forward with her hand at waist height.

Correction:
The traveler should hold her arm with her hand 6-8 inches from her body. This best positions her hand to contact low objects while providing her with sufficient time to react when she contacts objects.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

RELATED TECHNIQUES

Automobile Travel
Direction Taking**
Seating*
Traversing Open Spaces**

* Knowing the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique may enable the traveler to walk forward and locate a chair in front of her when not using a cane.

** Knowing the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique enables the traveler who is not using a cane to cross a familiar open area (in which there are no level changes) safely after establishing her direction of travel.



UPPER HAND AND FOREARM



PURPOSE

To locate and to protect one's upper body from undesired contact with objects at head and chest height such as the side of a doorframe when walking through a doorway. This technique is often used in conjunction with other mobility techniques such as negotiating DOORS WITH A GUIDE and negotiating VEHICLES IN THE TRAVEL PATH. It is also used in a variety of travel situations such as walking through areas where there is construction or through areas where there may be overhanging tree limbs and/or protruding bushes. It is used only in selective situations and not for long distances. Without a long cane, it is used only in familiar, controlled areas in which there are no level changes or hazards at foot level. It also may be used in the process of self-familiarization to a room (LaGrow & Weessies, 1994).

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

None

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, unfamiliar indoor environment where the traveler will contact natural objects at chest and/or head height (e.g., protruding display cases, open doors, poles, lamps, walls, fire extinguishers, hanging plants).

Progress next to an outdoor area where the traveler will contact objects at chest and/or head height (e.g., tree branches).

Lead up to areas in which there is heavier pedestrian congestion and where the traveler will contact objects at chest and/or head height.

Practice this technique in a variety of situations requiring use of this skill. Such situations might include (a) traversing an open space, (b) trailing a wall from which chest/head height objects protrude, (c) performing the seating technique, (d) crossing open doorways, (e) negotiating a truck or tall vehicle parked in the travel path, and (f) recovering from a veer by crossing over a parkway.

SKILLS

Unlike most mobility techniques, the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique is not taught or performed as a series of sequential steps. Rather, it is taught as a grouping of components that are performed simultaneously.

Standard

This technique is also called the "cross body technique," "forearm technique," "upper arm technique," or "upper protective arm technique." It is an effective method for detecting chest-high objects in the environment. It also can be used to provide limited upper body protection against unwanted contact with objects in the environment such as doorjambs when walking through doorways without a cane.

The traveler positions her body as she walks in the following way (see Figures 2.01a, 2.01b, and 2.01c):

Figure 2.01a
The Upper Hand and Forearm position; Front view.
 
Figure 2.01b
The Upper Hand and Forearm position; Side view.
 
Figure 2.01c
The Upper Hand and Forearm position; Rear view.

The traveler walks forward, generally at a slower pace until contacting the object in her path.

Modified

This method is used to protect the face from contact with objects in the environment (e.g., side mirrors on trucks, protruding beams at construction sites, low hanging branches). It is also used to protect the face from contact with objects when doing such things as bending over to clear a seat, drink from a fountain, or do a tactile search for dropped objects.

The traveler positions her body as she walks in the following way (see Figures 2.03a and 2.03b):

Figure 2.03a
The Upper Hand and Forearm (Modified) position; Front view.
 
Figure 2.03b
The Upper Hand and Forearm (Modified) position; Side view.

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler allows her arm to slip below shoulder height.

Correction:
Maintaining her arm at shoulder height provides the traveler with optimum trunk protection and reaction time when she contacts objects.

Error:
The traveler holds her hand with her palm facing either down or toward her body.

Correction:
Holding her hand with her palm facing forward enables the traveler to contact objects with her cushioned palm rather than with the sensitive bones in the back of her hand.

Error:
The traveler holds her elbow with less than a 120-degree angle.

Correction:
Holding her elbow at a 120-degree angle provides the traveler with optimum trunk protection and reaction time when she contacts objects. It also protects the sensitive bones at the elbow from contact with objects.

Error:
The traveler holds her wrist bent backward slightly.

Correction:
Holding her wrist straight places the palm of the traveler's hand in the proper position to contact objects and to avoid contacting them with the sensitive bones and nerves in her wrist.

Error:
The traveler does not reach her arm fully across her body.

Correction:
Reaching her arm fully across her body so that her fingers extend 1-2 inches beyond her shoulder width ensures that the traveler's hand will be positioned to protect her opposite shoulder.

Error:
The traveler holds her elbow with more than a 120-degree angle.

Correction:
Holding her elbow bent to a 120-degree angle places the traveler's hand and forearm in a position to protect the full width of her trunk while providing adequate time for her to react when she contacts objects.

Error:
The traveler points her fingers straight forward.

Correction:
Cupping her palm slightly without pointing her fingers forward positions the traveler's palm properly to contact objects while preventing her from jamming her fingertips when she contacts objects.

Error:
The traveler performs the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique with the arm closest to the wall next to which she is walking.

Correction:
Performing the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique with the arm that is farthest from the wall, places the traveler's palm in the proximity of objects likely to be encountered along the wall.

Error:
The traveler walks with the shoulder of the arm that she is using to perform the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique elevated.

Correction:
Maintaining her shoulders level helps the traveler to avoid inadvertently rotating her trunk and potentially veering. It also makes the technique more comfortable to perform.

Error:
The traveler reaches the shoulder of the arm that she is using to perform the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique forward.

Correction:
Not reaching her shoulder forward helps the traveler to avoid rotating her trunk and inadvertently veering.

Error:
The traveler reaches her arm too far across her body.

Correction:
Reaching her arm across her body only far enough to extend her fingers 1-2 inches beyond her shoulder width will help prevent the traveler from rotating her trunk and inadvertently veering. It will also ensure better shoulder protection on the side of the arm that is in the UPPER HAND & FOREARM position.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

  1. Have the traveler position her arm, relax it, then reposition it. Repeat this procedure several times.
    • Initially teach this technique while the traveler is standing with her back against a wall for support so that she can concentrate on learning the arm position, rather than worrying about keeping her balance. This can be especially helpful for travelers who are anxious or who have balance problems.
  2. Ask the traveler to "square off" against one wall and walk a short distance (e.g., the width of a hallway) to contact an object or the opposite wall.
  3. Ask the traveler to walk progressively longer distances while still maintaining the proper arm position.
    • If the traveler loses her arm position when anticipating walls or objects, practice the skill in an unfamiliar area.
    • Some travelers have a tendency to tense up when approaching an object. Remind them to keep the hand, arm, and shoulders relaxed to best absorb any impact when contacting an object.
    • The traveler should learn to perform this technique with each arm. In this way she can vary which arm she uses either as a matter of personal choice or in response to any specific environmental factors that may be present (e.g., objects protruding along a wall on one side).
    • This technique may be used in combination with other non-cane techniques such as the LOWER HAND & FOREARM, TRAILING, and certain cane skills (e.g., VEHICLES IN THE TRAVEL PATH) to provide maximum protection in certain situations.

RELATED TECHNIQUES

Automobile Travel
City Bus Travel
Contacting and Exploring Objects With a Cane
Doors With a Cane and Guide
Doors With a Guide
Direction Taking*
Dropped Objects
Median Strips**
Revolving Doors
Seating
Street Crossing Recovery
Subway Travel
Traversing Open Spaces*
Vehicles in the Crosswalk
Vehicles in the Travel Path

* Knowing the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique enables the traveler to safely cross a familiar open area (in which there may be obstacles at head or chest height) after establishing her direction of travel.

** Knowing the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique can protect the traveler from unwanted upper body contact with objects (e.g., signs, traffic signals) located on median strips.

DIRECTIONAL

TRAILING



PURPOSE

To locate landmarks and objects along a wall or other vertical surface being followed; it also provides increased physical contact with the environment and can enable the traveler to maintain a straight line of travel in the event that veering or maintaining orientation in space are a concern.

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

None

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, controlled, and familiar indoor area that is free of obstacles and in which there is a smooth vertical surface (e.g., tile, plaster, drywall) to follow.

Progress to quiet, unfamiliar indoor and outdoor environments that have objects that will be contacted along the vertical surface being followed (e.g., protruding display cases, doorways, open doors, doorknobs, intersecting walls or hallway openings, fire extinguishers).

Gradually introduce trailing surfaces with varying textures (e.g., brick, metal, wood).

Lead up to a congested area where the traveler would naturally trail (e.g., tray rail or counter in a cafeteria line, a hand railing along hallway walls of hospitals and some senior citizen centers, check-out counters in libraries and stores).

SKILLS

Standard—Position Next To Trailing Surface

The traveler walks 4-6 inches (one hand-span) from the trailing surface, contacting it lightly with the back or side of his hand (see "Hand Positions" below).

Modifications.

Standard—Hand Positions

All positions facilitate ease of trailing while protecting the thumb and fingertips from being jammed on objects, catching on rough edges along the trailing surface, or getting slivers under the fingernails.

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler points the fingers of his trailing hand forward.

Correction:
Pointing the fingers of his trailing hand downward prevents the traveler from jamming his fingers against objects that he encounters along the trailed surface or getting splinters under his fingernails.

Error:
The traveler fails to reach his trailing arm forward at a 45-degree angle.

Correction:
Reaching his arm forward at a 45-degree angle (approximately doorknob level) provides the traveler with sufficient time to react when he encounters objects along the trailed surface.

Error:
The traveler holds his trailing arm rigid with his elbow locked.

Correction:
Holding his trailing arm relaxed enough to have a light contact with the trailed surface helps him to avoid disturbing objects along the surface and prevents him from being jarred when he does contact an object.

Error:
The traveler presses his hand heavily against the wall or surface that he is trailing.

Correction:
Maintaining light contact with the surface being trailed will prevent disturbing objects along the surface and can minimize the potential for veering into any openings that the traveler encounters.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

RELATED TECHNIQUES

Direction Taking*
Reversing Direction With a Cane and Guide**
Reversing Direction With a Guide*
Seating***
Transferring Sides**
Transferring Sides When Carrying a Cane**

* The traveler may use the hand and arm position of the TRAILING technique to establish her starting position in the Parallel Alignment method of the DIRECTION TAKING technique.

** Knowing the TRAILING technique may assist in learning how to locate the guide's other arm by trailing across his back when reversing direction or transferring sides, either with or without a cane.

*** The traveler may use the TRAILING technique to trail the forward row while sidestepping into a row of theater seats. This allows her to count seats easily to facilitate relocating her seat if she leaves alone during the show.



DIRECTION TAKING (TACTILE)



PURPOSE

To use objects in the environment to establish a line of direction

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

Diagonal**
Lower Hand & Forearm**
Touch**
Trailing*
Upper Hand & Forearm**

* The traveler may use the hand and arm position of the TRAILING technique to establish her starting position in the Parallel Alignment method of the DIRECTION TAKING technique.

** Knowing the LOWER HAND & FOREARM, UPPER HAND & FOREARM, DIAGONAL, and TOUCH techniques enables the traveler to move forward safely after establishing her proper direction of travel.

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, familiar area that is free of obstacles and in which the traveler should have only short distances to walk (e.g., 3-4 feet) before reaching her objective.

Progress to a quiet, unfamiliar indoor environment that provides longer distances to walk (e.g., double door widths and intersecting hallways).

Progress next to outdoor areas and then finally to congested areas.

SKILLS

Perpendicular Alignment

A method for establishing a line of travel by first aligning to an object in the environment, the surface of which runs perpendicular to the desired line of travel. Perpendicular alignment is often referred to as "squaring-off."

  1. The traveler stands with her back to a flat surface that runs perpendicular to her desired line of travel.
    • To help verify this alignment, the traveler can place two symmetrical body parts (e.g., heels, hips, shoulders) against the object's surface. She then aligns with her feet, hips, and shoulders facing forward (see Figure 4.01).

      Figure 4.01
      The traveler places two symmetrical body parts against an object's surface to verify that she is aligned perpendicularly to it.
    • It is important to align only with objects that have a straight surface. Aligning with curved or movable objects (e.g., round tables, chairs that roll) can make it difficult to obtain the precise alignment needed to travel in the desired direction.
  2. The traveler mentally projects a forward line of travel and then walks ahead using protective and/or cane techniques.

Parallel Alignment

A method for establishing a line of travel by aligning to an object in the environment, the surface of which runs parallel to the desired line of travel. In addition, parallel alignment is often used on a continuous basis to maintain on-course travel as one moves through an environment. For example, a traveler maintains a straight line of travel down a sidewalk by essentially maintaining a parallel alignment to the curb on one side.

  1. The traveler stands next to a flat surface that runs parallel to her desired line of travel. Her entire body (head, trunk, and feet) should face forward.
    • To help verify this alignment, the traveler can slide her arm forward along the surface in an arc from her side to the TRAILING position and then back (see Figure 4.02). She can repeat this movement as needed.

      Figure 4.02
      The traveler slides her arm forward along the surface in an arc from her side to the TRAILING position and then back in order to verify that she is aligned parallel to it.
      • — When using a cane, the traveler can verify alignment by sliding the cane tip forward and then back along the parallel surface (see Figure 4.03)

        Figure 4.03
        The traveler slides her cane tip forward and back along the parallel surface to verify that she is aligned parallel to it.
    • It is important to align only with objects that have a straight surface. Aligning with curved or movable objects (e.g., round tables, chairs that roll) can make it difficult to obtain the precise alignment needed to travel in the desired direction.
  2. The traveler mentally projects a forward line of travel parallel to the surface and walks ahead using appropriate protective and/or cane techniques.
    • Once the line has been established, the traveler can move slightly away from the shoreline, maintaining her general direction (LaGrow & Weessies, 1994). In this case, she simply rotates her trunk away from the surface as she takes her first 1-2 steps, then realigns her trunk forward and continues walking.
    • If she desires, the traveler can also trail the object as she takes her first few steps forward. This may provide additional verification of her parallel alignment.

GENERAL MODIFICATIONS

To align in an open doorway, the traveler can lightly touch the frame of the doorway on each side with the back of her hands (see Figure 4.04).

Figure 4.04
The traveler aligns in a doorway by lightly touching the inside of the doorframe with the backs of her hands.

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler aligns to a round surface.

Correction:
Aligning only to a flat surface ensures that the traveler will have a perpendicular line of travel away from the surface. It is not possible to ensure travel in the desired direction if she aligns to a round surface.

Error:
The traveler aligns both heels to a vertical surface but does not stand with her hips and shoulders also aligned forward before walking (perpendicular alignment).

Correction:
Making sure that her entire body is aligned to the vertical surface before walking helps the traveler to ensure that she will have a perpendicular line of travel away from the surface.

Error:
The traveler aligns the shoulder, hip, and heel on only one side of her body to a vertical surface before walking (perpendicular alignment).

Correction:
Aligning two symmetrical body parts to the surface before walking helps to ensure that the traveler will have a perpendicular line of travel away from the surface.

Error:
The traveler aligns her trunk, but not her feet, parallel to a vertical surface before walking (parallel alignment).

Correction:
Making sure that both her trunk and her feet are aligned parallel to the vertical surface before walking ensures that the traveler will have an accurate line of travel parallel to it. In order to move slightly away from the surface while still maintaining a parallel direction of travel, the traveler can rotate her trunk away from the surface for the first few steps, then realign her trunk parallel to the surface and continue walking.

Error:
The traveler walks at a slow pace when performing this technique.

Correction:
Maintaining a consistent walking pace at normal or slightly faster than normal speed facilitates a straight line of travel.

Error:
Following a veer into the shoreline on the side of the travel path, the traveler turns her entire body to face the desired line of travel to reestablish a correct line of travel.

Correction:
Turning only her trunk in the desired direction of travel, without also turning her feet, generally reestablishes alignment without causing the over-correction that often occurs when turning one's entire body.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

RELATED TECHNIQUES

Areas Without Sidewalks
Gas Stations*
Sidewalk Recovery**
Traversing Open Spaces

* When recovering from an inadvertent veer into a gas station, the traveler can use the DIRECTION TAKING technique to establish a perpendicular alignment from objects that she may likely encounter (e.g., gas pump island, wall of a building). Doing so will generally position her to follow the shortest route back to the public sidewalk.

** When recovering from an inadvertent veer from the travel path, the traveler can use the DIRECTION TAKING technique to establish a parallel alignment with the shoreline that she has contacted. Doing so will often position her to follow the shortest route back to the public sidewalk.



TRAVERSING OPEN SPACES



PURPOSE

To pass an open doorway, intersecting hallway, or other open area when trailing a wall or other vertical surface; depending upon the environment, the traveler can use this technique either with or without a cane.

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

Diagonal*
Direction Taking
Lower Hand & Forearm*
Touch*
Upper Hand & Forearm*

* Knowing the UPPER HAND & FOREARM, LOWER HAND & FOREARM, DIAGONAL, and TOUCH techniques enables the traveler to travel safely across the open space.

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, controlled, and familiar area that is free of obstacles and that has only short distances to traverse (i.e., approximately a single door's width).

Progress to a quiet, unfamiliar indoor environment with longer distances to traverse (e.g., double door widths and large, intersecting hallways).

Progress next to outdoor areas and then to areas in which there is heavier pedestrian congestion.

SKILLS

The traveler can identify the beginning and end of openings using tactile, auditory, and/or temperature clues. He then crosses the opening using one of the following skills.

Upper Hand & Forearm

This skill is generally used when crossing a narrow opening (e.g., doorway) where there is little chance of veering off course. It may also be used by travelers who are able to cross wide openings without veering. While it is more conspicuous than the extended arm skill (described later in this section), it gives more body protection when contacting the wall or chest-high objects on the other side of the opening.

  1. Upon locating the opening with his trailing hand, the traveler maintains contact with the wall and walks up to the opening.
  2. The traveler pauses and listens to verify that no one is passing through the opening.
  3. Using the DIRECTION TAKING (parallel alignment) technique, the traveler projects a straight line of travel across the opening.
    • Holding the head up, facing straight forward, and mentally projecting the continuation of the wall may help some travelers to walk a straight line of travel across the opening.
  4. When it is clear, the traveler drops his trailing arm to his side and assumes the UPPER HAND & FOREARM position with his other arm (see Figure 5.01).

    Figure 5.01
    The traveler holds his arm in the UPPER HAND & FOREARM position while crossing the intersecting hallway.
  5. The traveler crosses the opening using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique. He locates the wall on the opposite side and then resumes travel.
    • The UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique protects his body from contact with the wall on the opposite side of the opening.
    • The traveler may choose to use the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique, as well, if there is any possibility that there may be objects at, or slightly below, waist level that he will encounter as he crosses the opening.
    • If the traveler walks a sufficient distance and does not locate the wall on the other side of the opening, he can relocate it using the Recovery From Veer skill (described below).

Recovery From Veer

If the traveler veers away from the wall and does not find it again easily after crossing the opening, he can relocate the wall using this skill.

  1. Upon identifying a veer away from the opening (the traveler has walked a sufficient distance and has not yet located the wall on the other side of the opening), the traveler angles his body slightly toward the wall he wishes to contact and walks toward it using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique.
    • The UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique protects his body from contact with the wall on the opposite side of the opening.
    • The traveler may choose to additionally use the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique if there is any possibility that there may be objects at, or slightly below, waist level that he will encounter as he crosses the opening.
  2. The traveler locates the wall and resumes travel.

Extended Arm

This is an easy skill for traversing open spaces that looks very natural. Because it provides no upper body protection, this skill is generally only used to cross narrow openings (e.g., doorways) where there is little chance of veering or of unwanted body contact with objects on the other side of the opening. It may also be used by travelers who are able to cross wide openings without veering.

  1. Upon locating the opening with his trailing hand, the traveler maintains contact with the wall and walks up to the opening.
  2. The traveler pauses and listens to verify that no one is passing through the opening.
  3. Using the DIRECTION TAKING (parallel alignment) technique, the traveler projects a straight line of travel across the opening.
    • Holding the head up, facing straight forward, and mentally projecting the continuation of the wall may help some travelers to walk a straight line of travel across the opening.
  4. When it is clear, the traveler reaches his trailing arm forward (see Figure 5.02).

    Figure 5.02
    The traveler reaches his trailing arm forward in the extended arm position to locate the wall on the other side of the door.
    • This procedure is relatively inconspicuous and easy to perform, but it can have some disadvantages as described here:
      • — The lack of body protection from hazards in the environment (e.g., partially open doors)
      • — The possibility of inadvertently poking people in the doorway with one's extended arm
  5. The traveler crosses the opening, locates the wall on the opposite side, and then resumes travel (see Figure 5.03).

    Figure 5.03
    The traveler locates the wall on the opposite side and then resumes travel.
    • The traveler may choose to use the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique while crossing if there is any possibility that there may be objects at, or slightly below, waist level that he will encounter as he crosses the opening.
    • If the traveler walks a sufficient distance and does not locate the wall on the other side of the opening, he can relocate it using the Recovery From Veer skill.

Rotating Trunk

This skill is used generally when crossing wider openings (e.g., intersecting hallways).

Note: Rotating the trunk often leads to a minimal veer in the direction in which the traveler's trunk faces. This skill is used by travelers who wish to purposely veer slightly into an opening in order to avoid an unintended veer into a parallel hallway or other open space. While this is less efficient than traveling directly across the opening, it may be best for travelers who have poor orientation or distance estimation, or who have difficulty maintaining a straight line of travel.

  1. Upon locating the opening with his trailing hand, the traveler pauses and listens to verify that no one is passing through the opening (see Figure 5.04a).
  2. When it is clear, the traveler projects a straight line of travel across the opening; he drops his trailing arm to his side, assumes the UPPER HAND & FOREARM position, and rotates his trunk (not his entire body) toward the opening (see Figure 5.04b).

    Figure 5.04a
    Upon locating the opening, the traveler pauses and listens to verify that no one is passing through the opening. When it is clear, he assumes the UPPER HAND & FOREARM position.
     
    Figure 5.04b
    The traveler rotates his trunk (not his entire body) toward the opening to ensure a slight veer into the opening and to minimize the chances of veering into the parallel hallway.
    • Rotating his trunk ensures that the traveler will veer slightly into the opening, thereby minimizing the chances of veering into the parallel hallway. It is important to rotate the trunk because rotating the entire body can sometimes cause one to veer excessively into the opening.
  3. The traveler crosses the opening using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique.
    • The UPPER HAND & FOREARM position protects his body from contact with the wall on the opposite side of the opening.
    • He may choose to use the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique additionally if there is any possibility that there may be objects at, or slightly below, waist level that he will encounter as he crosses the opening.
    • If the traveler walks a sufficient distance and does not locate the wall on the other side of the opening, he can relocate it using the Recovery From Veer skill.
  4. Upon locating the wall on the other side of the opening, the traveler turns toward the desired direction of travel and trails the wall to the corner.
  5. The traveler pauses and listens for intersecting pedestrian traffic. When it is clear, he turns the corner and resumes travel.

Squaring Off

This skill is used generally when crossing wider openings (e.g., an intersecting hallway). It is especially useful for travelers who have difficulty crossing openings without veering; it provides added assurance that the traveler will not miss the wall or other vertical surface on the far side. While this is less efficient than traveling directly across the opening, it may be best for travelers who have poor orientation or distance estimation, or who have difficulty maintaining a straight line of travel.

  1. Upon locating the opening with his trailing hand, the traveler pauses and listens to verify that no one is passing through the opening.
  2. When it is clear, the traveler turns the corner and takes one step. This is often called "indenting."
  3. Using the DIRECTION TAKING technique, the traveler places his back against the wall ("squares off"); see Figure 5.05.

    Figure 5.05
    The traveler "squares off" against the wall to assist in projecting a straight line of travel across the opening and to minimize any chance of veering into the parallel hallway.
  4. After listening to verify that it is still clear, the traveler projects a straight line of travel across the opening. He then walks across the opening to the opposite side using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique (see Figure 5.06).

    Figure 5.06
    The traveler projects a straight line of travel and walks across the opening using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique.
    • The UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique protects his body from contact with the wall on the opposite side of the opening.
    • He may choose to use the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique, as well, if there is any possibility that there may be objects at, or slightly below, waist level that he will encounter as he crosses the opening.
    • If the traveler walks a sufficient distance and does not locate the wall on the other side of the opening, he can relocate it using the Recovery From Veer skill.
  5. Upon locating the wall on the other side of the opening, the traveler turns toward the desired direction of travel and trails the wall to the corner.
  6. The traveler pauses and listens for intersecting pedestrian traffic. When it is clear, he turns the corner and resumes travel.

Passing Crowded Doorways

This is an effective means of passing a doorway or other opening when it is necessary to avoid contacting objects or people standing in the opening.

  1. Upon encountering a crowded doorway, the traveler pauses and listens for people passing through the opening and in his projected travel path around the doorway.
  2. When it is clear, the traveler assumes the UPPER HAND & FOREARM position with his arm that is opposite the wall. He moves in a semicircle across the estimated width of the doorway and locates the wall on the opposite side (see Figure 5.07).

    Figure 5.07
    The traveler moves in a semi-circle across the estimated width of the doorway.
    • He may choose to use the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique, as well, if there is any possibility that there may be objects at, or slightly below, waist level that he will encounter as he locates the wall on the opposite side.
    • If the traveler walks a sufficient distance and does not locate the wall on the other side of the doorway, he can relocate it using the Recovery From Veer skill.

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler fails to pause at the opening before crossing it.

Correction:
Pausing at the opening before crossing it gives the traveler time to listen for people who may be passing through the opening (and gives other people time to notice him) before he begins to cross. Waiting until it is clear before crossing will therefore prevent him from bumping into other people.

Error:
The traveler fails to rotate his trunk, or he rotates it away from the intersecting hallway, when crossing an opening using the Rotating Trunk skill.

Correction:
When using the Rotating Trunk skill to cross an opening, the traveler should rotate his trunk toward the opening to help ensure that he will veer slightly into it and thereby minimize his chances of veering into the parallel hallway.

Error:
The traveler rotates his entire body from head to toe toward the opening to cross it when using the Rotating Trunk skill.

Correction:
Rotating only his trunk will help ensure that the traveler veers only slightly into the opening while still maintaining his general direction of travel. Rotating his entire body can cause the traveler to veer too far into the opening.

Error:
The traveler fails to use the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique when crossing a large open space using the Squaring-Off skill.

Correction:
Using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM technique and/or the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique (depending upon the environment) when crossing a large open space protects the traveler's body against injury from bumping into the wall (or objects along it) on the other side of the opening.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

RELATED TECHNIQUES

Gas Stations*

* When recovering from an inadvertent veer into a gas station, the traveler can use the TRAVERSING OPEN SPACES technique (Squaring-Off skill) to cross the open area of the gas station and return to the public sidewalk.

REFERENCES

Hill, E., & Ponder, P. (1976). Orientation and mobility techniques: A guide for the practitioner. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.

LaGrow, S., & Weessies, M. (1994). Orientation & mobility: Techniques for independence. New Zealand: Dunmore Press Limited.



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