Laine wrote this when she first met with Daniel Kish from World Access for the Blind and the moment they knew, they just had to give Connie access to a long cane:
From 15 months old Connie was able to stand on her own, she navigated her environment by crawling and cruising. Only when there was an opportunity for her to walk between two people at home with a clear path would she take some steps unaided, she remained at this same stage for almost 4 months. She clearly had the physical skills to walk unaided, but lacked the confidence to do so.
When we met with Daniel Connie was 19 months old. He suggested that we introduce her to a long cane. There and then – let her go for it he said, so we did. That day we used an adult length cane (Daniel’s!) with myself supporting the cane from behind holding the handle and Connie holding half way down the long cane.
Connie immediately took the initiative to walk forwards while holding the cane, and she moved it side to side as instructed. We saw that using the cane in this way, Connie held her head up and walked on her own longer than we’d ever seen her do so. At one point when the tip of the cane dropped off the edge of a step, Connie was clearly heard by several of us to say, “Step”. This moment was truly amazing. To see her confidently walk and understand the use of the cane in such a short time at 19 months old was when we realised the potential this tool held for her. She continued to walk around the park with her head up looking forwards and she was enjoying herself immensely. When the time came to hand back the cane – it took some persuading!
We didn’t hesitate in purchasing an adult length cane for Connie, once it arrived within a week of having it she was walking everywhere with confidence using the long cane. We then progressed onto a long cane that was for Connie to use alone and we haven’t regretted it.
We owe a huge thanks to Daniel Kish for his support and to the charity Common Sense for introducing him and this concept to us and giving us the confidence to provide Connie with the skills to help her to feel safe enough to explore the world like all others her age.