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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

Most of the modules in the Step-By-Step series focus on specific mobility techniques that are used for travel in specific environments and travel situations. This module, however, breaks with that format because not all mobility techniques involve actual travel. Some techniques involve interacting with the environment outside an actual travel situation. For example, some techniques are used to systematically explore a tabletop or explore an object encountered during travel; others are used to locate dropped objects, or to accept or decline an unsolicited offer of assistance.

EXPLORATION

SEARCH PATTERNS

PURPOSE

To search or explore an area or object using a systematic method to ensure complete coverage

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

None

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin with a small, clear area with definite boundaries, such as a lunch tray or small table (i.e., small enough for the traveler to be able to reach around without physically moving from a seated or standing position).

Practice the mechanics of this technique on progressively larger areas (e.g., larger tables). Gradually introduce objects (e.g., keys, coins, desktop items) into the area for the traveler to find. Practice on a variety of both horizontal and vertical surfaces (e.g., windows, the floor).

Progress to using this technique to explore objects in the environment such as vending machines, bookcases, and elevator control panels. Emphasize the skills of localizing, discriminating, and identifying salient features of these objects.

Once the traveler has mastered the basic procedures, extend these systematic search techniques to exploring rooms, buildings, and even larger open areas such as yards or play areas.

SKILLS

A basic premise with all search pattern methods is to begin the search at a known reference point (sometimes called a "focal point"). A corner of the area to be searched or the center point of the nearest side are often used as reference points. The traveler should return to a reference point at any time she becomes disoriented.

Perimeter and Gridline

This skill is generally used when the boundary of an area is known, such as a tabletop. It provides the most complete information on object-to-object relationships. This skill also can be extended to self-familiarization with unfamiliar rooms or areas or even buildings.

Perimeter

The perimeter procedure enables the traveler to determine or verify the size and shape of the area to be searched and to locate objects along the edges of the area.

  1. The traveler trails the outer boundary of the area to be searched in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
    • The traveler can hold one hand at a reference point (e.g., a table corner or the middle of the near side) while tracing the perimeter of the area in one continuous motion with her other hand until that hand returns to the reference point (see Figure 1.01).

      Figure 1.01
      The traveler holds one hand at a reference point while tracing the perimeter of the area with her other hand.
    • For greater efficiency, the traveler can mentally remember the location of the reference point and use both hands to trace the perimeter in a symmetrical motion; each hand traces the perimeter from the reference point to a point where they meet at the far side of the area and then returns to the reference point (see Figure 1.02).

      Figure 1.02
      The traveler uses both hands to trace the perimeter in a symmetrical motion.
    • Tracing the perimeter is used to identify the size, shape, and boundary of the area and to note the location and relationships of major landmarks (e.g., corners, objects) along the periphery.

Gridline

The gridline procedure enables the traveler to find objects located within the field of an area and to note the location of objects within the area and their relationships to the reference point and to each other.

  1. Following completion of the perimeter search, the traveler moves her hands (palms flat, fingers closed and straight) lightly in the following ways.
    • From the reference point, vertically or horizontally, to the opposite side of the area; she then moves her hands over the width of one to two hands and returns (see Figures 1.03a and 1.03b).

      Figures 1.03a and 1.03b
      The traveler performs a gridline search by moving her hands systematically over the area.

    • She repeats these motions across the entire area or until she locates the object(s).
    • If necessary, the traveler can repeat the vertical motions in the horizontal direction (or vice versa) to ensure coverage of any missed areas.
    • Note: Searching with a flat hand with the fingers closed and straight on smooth surfaces ensures that the traveler's hand does not pass over small, flat objects such as coins.

Modifications.

Circle

An easy, systematic method for searching an area that does not have definite boundaries (e.g., the ground); it is an alternative to the method entitled "Fan."

  1. The traveler begins with her hands at midline, near her body (the reference point), and flat on the surface to be searched.
  2. The traveler moves her hands in concentric circles of increasing size, covering the area in front of her, between her feet (if squatting) and to her sides until she locates the object (see Figure 1.05).

    Figure 1.05
    The traveler moves her hands in concentric circles of increasing size until she locates the object.
    • The traveler can keep one hand at the reference point while the other hand searches to one side of midline; she then repeats this with her other hand on the other side.
    • The traveler can use two hands, searching both sides simultaneously.

Note: If the traveler fails to find the object, she moves forward using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique, and then begins to search the next area (see DROPPED OBJECTS).

Fan

An easy, systematic method for searching an area that does not have definite boundaries (e.g., the ground); it is an alternative to the method entitled "Circle."

  1. The traveler begins with her hands at midline, near her body (the reference point), and flat on the surface to be searched.
  2. The traveler moves her hands in fan motions (analogous to windshield wiper motions) of increasing size and distance from her body, covering the area in front of her between her feet and to her sides, until she locates the object (see Figure 1.06).

    Figure 1.06
    The traveler moves her hands in fan motions of increasing size and distance from her body until she locates the object.
    • The traveler can keep one hand at the reference point while the other hand searches to one side of midline; she then repeats this with her other hand on the other side.
    • The traveler can use two hands, searching both sides simultaneously.

Note: If the traveler fails to find the object, she moves forward using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique, and then begins to search the next area (see DROPPED OBJECTS).

Modification.

The traveler can also do the Fan Search with her foot while she is standing. This modification often works well if the object has dropped close to the traveler's body, and is useful if the ground is dirty.

Fan Search With a Cane

This is a method for searching a large area more quickly than can be done by hand; it should be done only in the absence of nearby people who might be tripped or contacted uncomfortably by the cane.

  1. The traveler places her cane flat on the surface to be searched. The cane is at midline, with the top of the grip near her body and the tip pointing away from her.

    Holding the top of the grip stationary (to act as a pivot point), the traveler slowly pivots the cane in an arc from left to right (or vice versa), covering the area in front of her and to the sides (see Figure 1.07).

    Figure 1.07
    Holding the top of the grip stationary, the traveler slowly pivots the cane in an arc until she locates the object.
    Alternatively, the traveler can move the entire cane from side to side, keeping the tip pointing away from her and sweeping a rectangular area (see Figure 1.08).

    Figure 1.08
    The traveler slowly moves the entire cane from side to side, sweeping a rectangular area, until she locates the object.
    • The traveler will be able to hear or feel when the cane contacts the object.


COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler is not systematic in her use of search patterns.

Correction:
Being systematic in the use of search patterns ensures that the traveler will not miss the object for which she is looking.

Error:
When using the Perimeter and Gridline method, the traveler fails to do a perimeter search before beginning the gridline search.

Correction:
Beginning with a perimeter search enables the traveler to locate objects along the perimeter of the search area. Also, knowing the location of such objects can help the traveler avoid pushing them off the surface inadvertently during the gridline search.

Error:
The traveler fails to hold her hands flat against the surface when searching for an object.

Correction:
Holding her hands flat against the surface increases the area covered by the traveler's hands and minimizes the chances of missing small objects, especially those that are flat (e.g., coins).

Error:
The traveler fails to move her hands in a slow, gentle manner when searching for an object.

Correction:
Moving her arms in a slow, gentle manner when searching for an object minimizes the possibility of knocking small objects away upon contact.


NOTES FOR TEACHERS


RELATED TECHNIQUES

Contacting and Exploring Objects With a Cane
Dropped Objects
Elevators



DROPPED OBJECTS

PURPOSE

To retrieve dropped objects

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

Search Patterns
Upper Hand & Forearm (Modified)

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, indoor area that is free of clutter with a hard smooth surface (e.g., tile, vinyl), and use objects that produce a noticeable sound when dropped. A hard surface provides optimum auditory feedback of where a dropped object lands. Later, progress to areas with surfaces that provide less auditory feedback (e.g., carpet).

Begin using objects that do not roll (e.g., keys). When the traveler is able to locate these objects successfully, progress to locating items that bounce off a wall or other surface when dropped, and/or items that roll (e.g., coins).

Eventually progress to areas where there are tables or other items under which the object might roll.

Progress finally to a variety of indoor and outdoor areas including environments with varying auditory feedback (e.g., stairwell areas with echoes).

SKILLS

Standard

The standard method of locating and retrieving dropped objects

  1. Immediately after dropping an object, the traveler stops walking and listens for the sound that the object makes as it lands.
    • Often, the object lands immediately below the hand that dropped it.
    • If the object bounces off of a wall or other object and/or rolls when it is dropped, the traveler monitors the sound of the object as it bounces and/or rolls and then as it comes to a stop.
  2. The traveler faces the sound and, using the appropriate cane or protective techniques, walks up to the object.
    • Walking slightly less than the estimated distance to the object most often places the traveler in front of it and also makes it less likely that the traveler will walk past the object or step on it.
  3. The traveler squats down keeping her trunk erect (baseball catcher's position) or kneels down.
    • Squatting down with her trunk erect keeps the traveler from bumping her face into an object under which the dropped item might have fallen. Some travelers, however, may find it physically difficult to squat down.
  4. As the traveler bends forward at the waist to place her hand on the ground, she uses the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique to protect her face in case the object has rolled near or under a table or chair (see Figure 2.01).

    Figure 2.01
    The traveler uses the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique to protect her face as she bends forward to place her hand on the ground.
  5. Using her knees (in a kneeling position) or feet (in a squatting position) as a reference point, the traveler locates the object using SEARCH PATTERNS. The traveler should search between her feet, to the front, and to both sides as far as she can reach.
    • If the traveler fails to find the object, she then moves forward a one-step distance using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique to protect her head against contact with objects in the environment (e.g., a tabletop) and begins to search a new area.
  6. Upon locating the object, the traveler stands up. If she is in an unfamiliar area or if there is a possibility that the object might have rolled under a table, the traveler should use the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique to protect her head from bumping the table as she stands up (see Figure 2.02).

    Figure 2.02
    The traveler uses the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique to protect her head from bumping objects as she stands up.

GENERAL MODIFICATIONS

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler fails to use the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when bending down.

Correction:
Using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when bending down protects the traveler from bumping her head (e.g., on a table or chair under which the object has rolled).

Error:
The traveler fails to use the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when moving forward to search a new area.

Correction:
Using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when moving forward to search a new area protects the traveler's head and face from bumping into furniture or other objects.

Error:
The traveler searches the area in front of her but fails to search the areas to her sides.

Correction:
Searching to her sides as well as in front helps ensure that the traveler will not miss an object located on her side.

Error:
The traveler searches the area in front of her and to her sides, but fails to search between her feet.

Correction:
Searching between her feet ensures that the traveler will not miss an object located between her feet.

Error:
The traveler fails to use the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when rising to stand.

Correction:
Using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when rising to stand protects the traveler's head from bumping into a table or other object under which she may have moved during her search.

Error:
The traveler fails to stop walking the moment that she drops an object.

Correction:
Stopping at the moment that she drops an object and listening for the sound that the object makes as it comes to rest on the ground helps the traveler to begin her search nearest to where she will find the object.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

RELATED TECHNIQUES

None



CONTACTING AND EXPLORING OBJECTS

PURPOSE

To safely and effectively examine an object that the traveler contacts with her cane

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

Upper Hand & Forearm (Modified)
Search Patterns

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, controlled, and familiar area with a large, familiar object a few feet in front of the traveler. Begin with objects that have a base (e.g., dresser), and then proceed to objects that don't (e.g., table).

Progress to exploring familiar and unfamiliar objects of varying heights, widths, and shapes.

Introduce the traveler to a variety of naturally occurring objects (e.g., recycling cans, chairs, tabletops, vending machines).

SKILLS

Standard

A method of using the cane and systematic search patterns to explore an object that the traveler has contacted with her cane

Contacting Objects

  1. Upon contacting an object to be explored, the traveler anchors the cane tip against the object with the tip an inch or so above the ground.
    • For objects that have no base, the cane shaft may be anchored against the near side of the object.
    • Keeping the cane anchored in a constant position establishes a clear reference of the object's location.
  2. The traveler adjusts her grasp on the cane by either of the two following procedures:
    • Changing her grasp on the cane to point her thumb down the shaft with her fingers wrapped around the shaft, and rotating her entire arm toward herself so that the back of her hand faces her trunk. As the traveler walks up to the object, she slides her hand to a point below the grip (see Figure 3.01).

      Figure 3.01
      With her thumb pointing down the shaft and her fingers wrapped around it, the traveler rotates her cane arm and slides her hand to a point below the grip as she walks up to the object.
    • Changing to the pencil grasp and sliding her hand below the grip as she walks up to the object.
      • — The traveler who holds her cane with a pencil grasp when first contacting the object will not need to adjust her grasp; she simply anchors the cane and then moves it into a vertical or semi-vertical position sliding her hand down to below the grip, as she walks up to the object.
  3. As the traveler walks up to the object, she brings her cane into a vertical or semi-vertical position. The semi-vertical position provides the best forward protection as the traveler approaches the object.

Exploring Objects

  1. To determine the object's width, the traveler can slide the cane shaft left and right along the near side of it.
  2. To determine the object's height, the traveler anchors the cane shaft along the near side of object, and then gently pushes the upper part of the cane shaft forward past vertical. By feeling at what point the shaft pivots on the object, the traveler can determine its height (see Figure 3.02).

    Figure 3.02
    The traveler gently pushes the upper part of the cane shaft forward past vertical to determine the object's height.
  3. The traveler further explores the object using systematic SEARCH PATTERNS. She can either slide her cane hand (or free hand) down the anchored shaft to reach the object, or she can bend down to reach it.
    • If the traveler bends forward to touch the object, she should use the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique to protect her head and upper trunk from bumping items on, or overhanging, the object (e.g., hanging plants over a table, swing-arm lamps; see Figure 3.03).

      Figure 3.03
      The traveler uses the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique to protect her head and upper trunk when bending forward to touch an object.
    • As another option, the traveler can either squat down keeping her trunk and head erect, or she can turn so that the object is on her side before reaching. Either of these positions will also help her to avoid bumping her head.

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler fails to use the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when bending forward to explore an object.

Correction:
Using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when bending forward to explore an object helps protect the traveler from bumping her face on tall objects placed on the table or on objects that may be hanging above the table.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

RELATED TECHNIQUES

Doors With a Cane*
Obstacles in the Travel Path*
Seating*
Sidewalk Recovery*
Stairs With a Cane*
Stairs With a Cane and Guide*
Vehicles in the Travel Path*

* The Contacting Objects portion of this technique is used when the traveler's cane contacts a closed door, first step, obstacle, shoreline, vehicle, or seat. Doing so enables her to position her cane properly as she walks up to the object as a part of performing the specific technique.



SEATING

PURPOSE

To locate a seat, verify that it is empty, and then to sit down storing one's cane in a safe manner; variations of this technique are used depending on where one is sitting (e.g., in a chair, at a table, on a bus, or in a theater or restaurant).

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

Cane Placement (see Appendices)
Carrying a Cane When Walking With a Guide (for Auditorium Seating and for Seating With a Guide)
Contacting & Exploring Objects With a Cane*
Lower Hand & Forearm**
Reversing Direction With a Guide***
Reversing Direction With a Cane & Guide***
Trailing****
Transferring Sides*****
Transferring Sides When Carrying a Cane*****
Upper Hand & Forearm (Modified)

* The Contacting Objects portion of the CONTACTING & EXPLORING OBJECTS WITH A CANE technique is used when the traveler's cane contacts the seat. Doing so enables her to position her cane properly as she walks up to the chair and prepares to clear.
** Knowing the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique may enable the traveler to walk safely forward to locate the back of a chair when she is not using a cane.
*** Knowing REVERSING DIRECTION WITH A GUIDE and REVERSING DIRECTION WITH A CANE & GUIDE techniques can be helpful, especially in theater seating when the guide and traveler may need to turn around to return via the same aisle by which they approached their row of seats.
**** The traveler may use the TRAILING technique to trail the forward row while sidestepping into, or out of, a row of theater seats. This allows the traveler to easily count seats for the purpose of relocating her seat if she leaves alone during the show.
***** The traveler can use the TRANSFERRING SIDES or TRANSFERRING SIDES WHEN CARRYING A CANE technique to move to the proper side of the guide to enter a row of theater seats.

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, controlled area. Introduce this technique using a sturdy chair (that will not slide or roll unexpectedly) with a straight back so that the traveler can sit down and stand up most easily.

Later, introduce more complicated seating skills such as table seating and auditorium seating.

Practice this technique in a variety of environments requiring use of this skill (e.g., schools, offices, and other public buildings; public parks, cafeterias, theaters, restaurants).

SKILLS

Sitting in a Chair

An effective method for locating a vacant chair, verifying that it is empty, and sitting down safely

  1. Using her cane or the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique, the traveler locates the chair. If she contacts the side or the back of the chair, she walks or trails around it to the front (being careful not to disturb anything that may be on the arms or back of the chair).
  2. Using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique to protect her face from contact with any objects that may be hanging over the chair (e.g., a lamp or hanging plant), the traveler leans down to "clear" it. She "clears" the chair by sweeping her fingertips gently down the back of the chair and making an X, circle, or other pattern on the seat (see Figure 4.01).

    Figure 4.01
    The traveler "clears" the chair by sweeping her fingertips gently down the back of the chair and making an X, circle, or other pattern on the seat.
    • "Clearing" is done to check for objects on the back or seat, and to determine the size and shape of the chair, height of the chair back, presence of arms, surface of the seat, whether or not the chair is stable or movable, etc.
    • Using one's fingertips with a light touch looks most natural and is unlikely to disturb objects on the seat.
    • Some travelers choose to locate the back of the chair using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique and then to keep their hand there as a reference point while clearing the chair with their other hand.
  3. If the chair is clear, the traveler turns around and places the backs of both legs against the chair and sits down gently.
    • Placing the backs of both legs against the chair before sitting ensures that the traveler is standing as close to the chair as possible and keeps her from missing the chair as she sits down.
    • If she chooses, the traveler may place a hand on the arm or seat of the chair for support or to ensure that the chair does not slide as she sits down.
  4. The traveler positions her cane (if present) using the CANE PLACEMENT technique.

    Modification.

    Rather than facing the chair when bending over to "clear" it, the traveler may choose to simply "clear" the chair by reaching behind her as she begins to sit down. This modification is often used in theater seating where there is not sufficient room to easily face the chair, clear, and then turn around to sit.

Sitting at a Table

To sit.

  1. The traveler locates the chair by using her cane. She can simultaneously trail the edge of the table.
  2. Standing to one side of the chair, the traveler places one hand on the table in a spot immediately to the side of the chair. If she has a cane, the traveler holds it vertically at the edge of the table using the same hand (see Figure 4.02). The traveler then pulls the chair out from the table with her free hand.

    Figure 4.02
    The traveler holds the cane vertically at the edge of the table while she pulls the chair out from the table with her other hand.
    • Placing one hand on the table can also provide a reference point to tell the traveler how far, and in what direction, to pull out the chair.
    • It is important not to lean on the table because some tables can tip easily.
  3. The traveler leans down and "clears" the chair by sweeping her fingertips gently down the back of the chair and making an X, circle, or other pattern on the seat (as shown in Figure 4.01).
    • "Clearing" is done to check for objects on the back or seat, and to determine the size and shape of the chair, height of the chair back, presence of arms, surface of the seat, etc.
    • Using one's fingertips with a light touch looks most natural and is unlikely to disturb objects on the seat.
  4. If the chair is clear, the traveler places the backs of both legs against the front edge of the chair and sits down gently.
    • Placing the backs of both legs against the chair before sitting ensures that the traveler is standing as close to the chair as possible and keeps her from missing the chair as she sits down.
    • If she chooses, the traveler may place a hand on the arm or seat of the chair for support, or to ensure that the chair does not slide as she sits down.
  5. The traveler positions her cane (if present) using the CANE PLACEMENT technique, and then pulls her chair forward to the table.

To rise.

  1. When leaving the table, the traveler slides her chair gently and slowly away from the table.
  2. Holding one hand lightly on the table edge (as a reference point to avoid bumping her head on it), the traveler bends down to get her cane.
    • The traveler must be careful not to put much weight on the table as she bends down because some tables will tip when excessive weight is placed on them.
  3. Holding the cane vertically next to the table edge with one hand, the traveler stands up and pushes her chair under the table with her free hand.
    • If the chair is heavy, the traveler may need to use both hands to push it in; the traveler ensures that the cane stays vertical while she does so.

Theater and Auditorium Seating

This skill can be used for seating in any setting in which the seats are designed in long rows (e.g., auditorium, bleacher, sports stadium).

Guide Leading

This is an efficient method for negotiating auditorium or theater style seating. It is an alternative to the skill entitled "Auditorium: Traveler Leading."

To locate seats.

  1. The guide and traveler stop alongside their desired row. If the guide is not standing closest to the row they wish to enter, he can instruct the traveler to TRANSFER SIDES. This positions the guide to lead into the row.
  2. The guide uses an "arm pull" to bring the traveler forward beside him.
  3. The guide and traveler sidestep into the row until both are standing directly in front of their seats. As they do so, the traveler can hold her cane (if she is carrying one) in the same hand that is grasping the guide's arm; she can lightly trail the backs of the seats in the forward row (just below the edge) with the back of her free hand, holding her fingers slightly cupped (see Figure 4.03).

    Figure 4.03
    The traveler uses the back of her hand to trail the backs of the seats in the forward row.
    • Trailing the forward row while sidestepping may help the traveler to maintain alignment and allow her to easily count seats for the purpose of relocating her seat if she leaves alone during show. Trailing the back of the seats with her cupped hand will help her to avoid inadvertently touching a person seated in the forward row or accidentally pulling hair or coats that may be hanging over the backs of these seats.
    • If using the human guide grip is uncomfortable when sidestepping, the traveler may just lightly touch the guide's arm with the back of her hand.
    • If the row is wide enough, the guide and traveler may choose to use the NARROW SPACES technique instead of sidestepping.
    • In some cultures and in some social situations, the man may let the woman lead when entering a row of auditorium seating.
  4. The guide and traveler break contact.
  5. The traveler clears her seat; placing the backs of both legs against the seat, and sits down.
    • In theaters or auditoriums with folding seats, the traveler will need to pull the seat down before clearing it and sitting down.
    • If there is insufficient room to turn and face the seat when clearing, the traveler can turn partially toward it or reach behind her to locate the seatback and to clear the seat. This can be physically awkward, however, and generally requires fairly good balance.
  6. The traveler positions her cane (if carrying one) using the CANE PLACEMENT technique.

To exit the row.

  1. To exit, the guide rises and crosses in front of the traveler so that he will be in a position to lead the way to the aisle. If the guide and traveler choose to exit at the other end of the row, the guide will not need to cross in front of the traveler.
  2. The traveler retrieves her cane (if carrying one) and rises. She then assumes the HUMAN GUIDE (or CARRYING A CANE WHEN WALKING WITH A GUIDE-Vertical) position next to the guide.
    • Assuming the HUMAN GUIDE position after rising prevents the traveler from inadvertently pulling on the guide's arm as she rises to stand.
    • If using the human guide grip is uncomfortable when sidestepping, the traveler may just lightly touch the guide's arm with the back of her hand.
  3. The guide and traveler sidestep out of the row to the aisle. If the traveler wishes, she may trail the back of the seats in the forward row to maintain her alignment and to confirm when she reaches the aisle.
  4. At the aisle, the guide and traveler reverse directions, if necessary, and resume travel.

Traveler Leading

This is an efficient method for negotiating auditorium style seating when the traveler is in the most convenient position to lead. It is an alternative to the skill entitled "Auditorium: Guide Leading."

To locate seats.

  1. The traveler and guide stop alongside their desired row.
  2. The traveler leads as they enter the row (sidestepping if necessary) and uses her cane to locate empty seats. If the traveler wishes, she may release the guide's arm and lightly trail the backs of the seats in the forward row (just below the edge) with the back of her free hand that she holds slightly cupped.
    • Trailing the forward row while sidestepping may help some travelers to maintain alignment and allow them to easily count seats for the purpose of relocating their seat if they leave alone during the show. Trailing the back of the seats with a cupped hand will help avoid inadvertently touching a person seated in the forward row or accidentally pulling hair or coats that may be hanging over the backs of these seats.
  3. The traveler clears her seat, then turns around and places the backs of both legs against the seat. She sits down.
    • In some theaters or auditoriums with folding seats, the traveler will need to pull the seat down before clearing it and sitting down.
    • If there is insufficient room to turn and face the seat when clearing, the traveler can turn partially toward it or reach behind her to locate the seatback and to clear the seat. This can be physically awkward, however, and generally requires fairly good balance.
  4. The traveler positions her cane (if carrying one) using the CANE PLACEMENT technique.

To exit the row.

  1. The traveler retrieves her cane and stands up. She uses her cane to clear the way as she and the guide sidestep out of the row. If she wishes, the traveler can lightly trail the back of the seats in the forward row with her free hand to help maintain her alignment and to confirm when she reaches the aisle.
  2. The traveler pauses at the main aisle and listens for people walking across her path. When it is clear, she steps into the aisle.
  3. The traveler and guide resume travel.

Seating With a Guide

  1. The guide steers the traveler to a position close to the chair (or other seating surface) and informs her of the chair's presence and location.
  2. Using her cane or the LOWER HAND & FOREARM technique, the traveler walks up to the chair.
    • To assist travelers who have poor balance or orientation, the guide can grasp an arm of the chair or the back of the chair and then have the traveler slide her grasp hand down his arm to the chair. Alternatively, the guide can take the traveler's grasp hand and place it on the back or arm of the chair.
    • If the traveler is not certain that the guide (e.g., especially an unfamiliar or inexperienced guide) has selected an empty chair, she should "clear" the seat before sitting down.
  3. Turning to place the backs of both legs against the chair, the traveler sits down. If the chair is movable or unsteady, the traveler can hold onto the arm or seat of the chair while sitting down.
    • If the traveler is a small child or is physically unable to hold the chair steady, then the guide may hold it steady for her.
  4. The traveler positions her cane (if carrying one) using the CANE PLACEMENT technique.

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler fails to clear the seat before sitting down.

Correction:
Clearing the seat before turning to sit enables the traveler to verify that the chair is empty before she sits down.

Error:
The traveler fails to use the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when bending down to clear the seat.

Correction:
Using the UPPER HAND & FOREARM (Modified) technique when bending down to clear the seat prevents the traveler from bumping her face into objects that may be hanging above the chair.

Error:
The traveler fails to place the back of both knees against the chair before sitting down.

Correction:
Placing the back of both knees against the chair before sitting down positions the traveler to sit directly in the seat.

Error:
The traveler pulls the chair away from the table using the same hand that is holding the cane.

Correction:
Holding the cane in her hand that is nearest to the table and pulling the chair away from the table with her free hand enables the traveler to maintain better control of the cane so that it does not get in the way of other people.

Error:
The traveler places her cane underneath the table with the cane shaft perpendicular to the table's length.

Correction:
Placing her cane under the table, with the cane shaft parallel to the table's length, keeps the cane out of the aisle and ensures that it will not pose a hazard to others.

Error:
When entering or exiting a row in an auditorium, the traveler cups her hand gently over each seatback as she trails the row ahead of her own.

Correction:
Trailing the backs of the seats only when entering or exiting a row in an auditorium ensures that the traveler will not inadvertently touch a person sitting in the row ahead.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

RELATED TECHNIQUES

Automobile Travel
City Bus Travel
Subway Travel

UNSOLICITED ASSISTANCE

ACCEPTING AND DECLINING ASSISTANCE WHEN NOT CARRYING A CANE

PURPOSE

To accept or decline unsolicited assistance when not carrying a cane; rather than accepting undesired assistance or assistance that is offered in an improper manner, this technique empowers the traveler to take an active role in determining whether she will accept the assistance, and if so, how she will do it.

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

Human Guide

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, familiar area that is free of distractions.

Integrate this skill into instruction in all environments that might require the use of this technique (e.g., in public buildings, street corners).

During the course of advanced instruction, opportunities to practice this technique often occur naturally.

SKILLS

Standard

This is an effective method for accepting or declining unsolicited assistance. It positions the traveler to perform the HUMAN GUIDE technique if accepting assistance. It is also an effective means by which the traveler can release any grasp that the person may have on her arm when a verbal decline of assistance does not work.

  1. Upon feeling a person grasp her arm in an effort to assist her, the traveler stands firm and does not move her feet. She keeps her center of gravity firmly centered over her feet.
    • This prevents the traveler from being turned or pushed forward into obstacles or hazards accidentally.
    • This enables the traveler to maintain her orientation and alignment.
  2. The traveler gently raises her grasped arm diagonally across her body, toward her opposite shoulder.
    • Reaching toward her opposite shoulder decreases the security of the person's grasp on her arm and positions his wrist so that she can grasp it easily (see the next step).
  3. If the person does not release his grasp, the traveler can grasp his wrist from below with her free hand, and pull downward gently to release his grasp (see Figure 5.01).

    Figure 5.01
    The traveler grasps the wrist (from below) of a person offering assistance and pulls downward gently to release his grasp from her arm.
    • It is important to grasp the person's wrist instead of his arm to be able to maintain a firm grasp and to control the person's release of her arm.
  4. The traveler can then either decline or accept the person's assistance.
    • To decline assistance
      • — The traveler releases the person's wrist and states that she does not need assistance (e.g., "Thank you, but I don't need any assistance right now.").
    • To accept assistance
      • — The traveler continues to hold the person's wrist. Thanking the person for offering assistance, she states that the HUMAN GUIDE technique is easiest for her to use (e.g., "Thank you, may I take your arm?"). The traveler then grasps the person's elbow with her free hand and assumes the HUMAN GUIDE position.

Declining Assistance by Rotating the Trunk

This is an easy method to decline unsolicited assistance when a person unexpectedly grasps the traveler's arm. This method works especially well for travelers who have difficulty performing the STANDARD method or when the person has grasped the traveler's shoulder instead of her arm.

  1. Upon feeling someone grasp her arm or shoulder, the traveler stands firm and does not move her feet.
    • This prevents the traveler from being turned or pushed forward into obstacles or hazards accidentally.
    • This enables the traveler to maintain her orientation and alignment.
  2. The traveler rotates her trunk away from the person who is offering assistance. As she does so, the traveler thanks the person for offering assistance and states that assistance is not needed.

GENERAL MODIFICATIONS

If the traveler is unable to decline assistance using either of the skills above, or if she feels that they are not necessary in a given situation, she can simply relax her grasped arm, allowing it to go limp, while keeping her feet firmly in place.

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler fails to hold her feet firmly in place when someone grasps her arm or shoulder.

Correction:
Holding her feet firmly in place when someone grasps her arm or shoulder prevents the traveler from being pushed off-balance or inadvertently into a hazard. It also helps travelers who are easily disoriented to avoid losing their orientation when moved unexpectedly from their position.

Error:
The traveler tries to grasp the person's wrist from above when trying to release his grasp on her arm.

Correction:
Grasping the person's wrist from below enables the traveler to grasp his wrist most easily and efficiently.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

RELATED TECHNIQUES

Accepting and Declining Assistance When Carrying a Cane



ACCEPTING AND DECLINING ASSISTANCE WHEN CARRYING A CANE

PURPOSE

To accept or decline unsolicited assistance when carrying a cane; this technique is generally used when a polite verbal acceptance or refusal of assistance is ineffective.

PREREQUISITE TECHNIQUES

Accepting and Declining Assistance When Not Carrying a Cane
Carrying a Cane When Walking With a Guide

TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS

Begin in a quiet, familiar area that is free of distractions.

Practice this technique in situations that typically require this skill (e.g., at street corners, or in public buildings or other public areas).

During the course of advanced instruction, opportunities to practice this technique often occur naturally.

SKILLS

If the Non-Cane Arm is Grasped

This is an efficient method to accept or decline unsolicited assistance when a pedestrian unexpectedly grasps the traveler's non-cane arm.

  1. Upon feeling someone grasp her non-cane arm, the traveler stands firm and does not move her feet. She keeps her center of gravity firmly centered over her feet.
    • Doing so prevents the traveler from being turned or pushed forward into obstacles or hazards accidentally.
    • It also enables the traveler to maintain her orientation and alignment.
  2. The traveler slides her grasp lower on the cane shaft and positions the cane vertically, with the tip 1-2 inches above the ground.
    • Maintaining the cane in a vertical position prevents it from hitting other pedestrians.
  3. The traveler gently raises her grasped arm diagonally across her body, toward her opposite shoulder.
    • Reaching toward her opposite shoulder decreases the security of the person's grasp on her arm and positions his wrist so that she can grasp it easily.
  4. If the person does not release his grasp, the traveler can grasp his wrist from below with her cane hand, and pull downward gently to release his grasp.
    • The traveler can grasp the person's wrist with her thumb and forefinger (the remaining fingers wrapped around the cane shaft; see Figure 6.01). She must be careful to hold the cane in a vertical position at all times.


    Figure 6.01
    The traveler grasps the person's wrist with her thumb and forefinger; she holds the cane by wrapping her remaining fingers around the shaft.
  5. The traveler can then either decline or accept the person's assistance.
    • To decline assistance
      • — The traveler releases the person's wrist and states that she does not need assistance.
    • To accept assistance
      • — The traveler thanks the person for offering assistance and states her preference to hold his arm (HUMAN GUIDE technique). The traveler then grasps the person's elbow with her free hand and assumes the CARRYING A CANE WHEN WALKING WITH A GUIDE position.

If the Cane Arm is Grasped

This is an efficient method to accept or decline unsolicited assistance when a pedestrian unexpectedly grasps the traveler's cane arm.

Steps 1 and 2 are the same as "If the Non-Cane Arm is Grasped."

  1. Upon feeling someone grasp her cane arm, the traveler stands firm and does not move her feet. She keeps her center of gravity firmly centered over her feet.
    • Doing so prevents the traveler from being turned or pushed forward into obstacles or hazards accidentally.
    • It also enables the traveler to maintain her orientation and alignment.

    The traveler must be careful not to let the cane tip rise in the air if her arm is pushed forward when the person grasps it. Holding the cane in a vertical position prevents it from hitting passersby.
  2. Sliding her grasp lower on the cane shaft, the traveler positions the cane vertically with the tip no more than 1-2 inches above the ground and transfers the cane to her other hand.
    • She can hold the cane with a pencil grasp or with her middle, ring, and little fingers (as shown in Figure 6.01).
    • Maintaining the cane in a vertical position prevents it from hitting passersby.
  3. The traveler then gently raises her grasped arm diagonally across her body, toward her opposite shoulder. If the person does not release his grasp, the traveler can grasp his wrist from below with her cane hand (keeping the cane vertical), and pull downward gently to release his grasp.
  4. The traveler can then either decline or accept the person's assistance.
    • To decline assistance
      • — The traveler releases the person's wrist and politely states that she does not need assistance.
    • To accept assistance
      • — The traveler thanks the person for offering assistance and states her preference to hold his arm (HUMAN GUIDE technique). The traveler then grasps the person's elbow with her free hand and assumes the CARRYING A CANE WHEN WALKING WITH A GUIDE position.

Declining Assistance: Not Transferring the Cane

This is a method to decline unsolicited assistance when a pedestrian unexpectedly grasps the traveler's cane arm. While this method eliminates the need to transfer the cane to the other hand, it does provide the additional challenge of maintaining the cane in a vertical position while the traveler releases the person's grasp on her arm.

Step 1 is the same as "If the Cane Arm is Grasped."

  1. Upon feeling someone grasp her cane arm, the traveler stands firm and does not move her feet. She keeps her center of gravity firmly centered over her feet.
    • Doing so prevents the traveler from being turned or pushed forward into obstacles or hazards accidentally.
    • It also enables the traveler to maintain her orientation and alignment.

    The traveler must be careful not to let the cane tip rise in the air if her arm is pushed forward when the person grasps it. Holding the cane in a vertical position prevents it from hitting other pedestrians.
  2. The traveler keeps the cane in the same hand but slides her grasp lower on the cane shaft and positions the cane vertically, with the tip 1-2 inches above the ground.
  3. The traveler gently raises her grasped arm diagonally across her body, toward her opposite shoulder. If the person does not release his grasp, the traveler can grasp his wrist from below and pull downward gently to release his grasp (see Figure 6.02).

    Figure 6.02
    The traveler raises her grasped arm diagonally across her body, grasps the person's wrist from below, and pulls downward gently to release his grasp.
  4. The traveler can then state that she does not need assistance.

Declining Assistance: Rotating the Trunk

This is an easy method to decline unsolicited assistance when a pedestrian unexpectedly grasps the traveler's arm. This method works well for travelers who have difficulty manipulating the cane as in the other methods of ACCEPTING AND DECLINING ASSISTANCE WHEN CARRYING A CANE. This method also works well whenever a pedestrian grasps the traveler's shoulder instead of her arm.

  1. Upon feeling someone grasp her arm, the traveler stands firm and does not move her feet. She keeps her center of gravity firmly centered over her feet.
    • Doing so prevents the traveler from being turned or pushed forward into obstacles or hazards accidentally.
    • It also enables the traveler to maintain her orientation and alignment.

    If the pedestrian has grasped the traveler's cane arm, she must be careful not to let the cane tip rise in the air if he pushes her arm forward as he grasps it. Holding the cane in a vertical position prevents it from hitting other pedestrians.
  2. Standing firmly in place, the traveler rotates her trunk away from the person who is offering assistance (see Figure 6.03).

    Figure 6.03
    The traveler rotates her trunk away to decline assistance from a person who has grasped her shoulder or arm.
  3. The traveler can then politely state that she does not need assistance.

GENERAL MODIFICATIONS

If the traveler is unable to perform the above skills or feels that they are not necessary in a given situation, she can simply relax her grasped arm, allowing it to go limp, while keeping her feet firmly in place.

COMMON ERRORS AND CORRECTIONS

Error:
The traveler fails to hold her feet firmly in place when someone grasps her arm.

Correction:
Holding her feet firmly in place when someone grasps her arm prevents the traveler from being pushed off-balance or pushed forward into a hazard by accident. It also helps travelers who are easily disoriented to avoid losing their orientation when moved unexpectedly from their position.

Error:
The traveler fails to maintain her cane in a vertical position when reaching for the person's wrist.

Correction:
Maintaining her cane in a vertical position when reaching for the person's wrist prevents the cane from hitting nearby pedestrians.

Error:
The traveler fails to transfer the cane to her other hand before reaching for the person's wrist.

Correction:
Transferring the cane to her other hand before reaching for the person's wrist makes it easier for the traveler to grasp the person's wrist.

Error:
When a well-intentioned pedestrian grabs the traveler's cane and attempts to guide her by pulling on the cane, the traveler obligingly follows the person's lead.

Correction:
When a well-intentioned pedestrian grabs the traveler's cane, the traveler should hold her feet firmly in place, and if she is unable to maintain her grasp on the cane without being pulled out of position, she should let go of the cane. The traveler does not have the protection of the cane when someone is pulling on it.

NOTES FOR TEACHERS

RELATED TECHNIQUES

None

REFERENCES

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

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



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Phone: 502-895-2405
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Fax: 502-899-2274
Email: info@aph.org
Website: www.aph.org

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