Rules of the Road Simplified
Common Sense recommends that you follow the “No Limits” Mobility Approach (Daniel Kish), which encourages children to explore with their cane and learn to “listen” to their cane. The ultimate aim is to make the cane a “perceptual tool” which will give the child more information about their surroundings. You can provide your child with the support to do this safely and effectively. Our aim is to help you ensure that your child has the tools, confidence and the experience to become an independent traveller.
How you can be your childs first mobility instructor:
Don’t guide your child (other than that which you would normally do as a parent/carer i.e. a 4 year old by a busy road!). If you do, then you don’t give them the chance to experience travel independently. “Self Directed Discovery” is essential. The best way of learning is through experiencing and practice. A child will not ever learn this if you do it for them!
Encourage them to use their cane as much as possible (i.e. all of the time). It doesn’t make sense for a cane to be used only sometimes – you can instil the responsibility of having a cane, then the better they will travel with it and the more independent they will become. There are not many times when cane use isn’t appropriate. Some of the most adept users will use a cane pretty much all of the time. That is why they are adept users! A cane is a great tool for keeping them safe, and in time they will want to use it most of the time. If they say they don’t want it, stay positive – encourage but don’t force, remember that once they realise what a difference it makes to their travel, they will want it.
Let them make mistakes; if they aren’t using it properly (like not moving it from side to side well), let them trip or walk into things, because it will help reinforce why they need it. That said, you need to keep a balance between letting your child explore and learn, but also keep them safe. A trip up a kerb, or walking into a post at low speed is a useful lesson. Running off a railway platform isn’t!
Get your school to work with you on this! A visually impaired child is safer with a cane than without, and so are their peers. Common Sense children use their canes in the classroom.
Trust yourself as parent/carer. It is your job to keep your child safe and also to give your child the best future. If you believe that your child can be independent, then so will they!
Rules for the children:
Keep the tip on the floor!
This is your cane so you need to look after it. Remember where you leave it and don’t just hand it to someone else.
Have fun! Give it a name, decorate it (removable stuff only), show your friends, enjoy it!
Trust yourself! Once you realise how independent you can be with your cane, and how much more freedom it gives you, you will never want to be without it! You know how to do this, you just need some support.
Let someone know when it’s too short, and they will get you a new one.