Common Sense Cane Bank

Common Sense Cane Bank is a cane library – loaning long white canes to children whose parents contact us.  We are a parent-led charity with the ethos of parental and child empowerment and we believe every child should have the right to independent travel. Some canes are funded by local services, but often they are not and this is left to the parent to fund.  We are very happy when our canes assist them on this journey!

After working with World Access for the Blind, we were often asked about our son’s cane.  We ended up lending out his spare one and old ones.  Eventually, we started asking people to donate old canes to be lent out, and then we started buying them directly from the NFB.  We have built up a collection of several canes over the years, so if we have one in your child’s size (measure nose-to-toes, this is important) we would be happy to lend you one to try.  You can keep it for as long as you need.  If you’d like to borrow or donate a cane, please email:

Words from Joe Cutter,

“As your child’s first mobility teacher, the decision to use a cane must be made by you the parents.  You may come to such a decision in conjunction with the orientation and mobility specialist, or without such a professional.  The point is, it should be your decision.  Generally a cane will help facilitate a blind child moving shortly after he or she begins walking.  I have known blind children, however, who took their first steps across a large space with a cane.  In these cases, the child was ready to walk, but would not self initiate many steps across large spaces.  Therefore, observe the child’s movement around the event of walking.  If the cane seems to promote movement, go with it.  Do posture, date, and self assurance seem true with the cane?  If yes, then it’s facilitating movement.
If the child is evaluated by an orientation and mobility professional and it is decided that he or she is not ready for a cane, and ask yourself these questions: What is my child ready for?  Someone’s arm?  A pre-cane device that may be more complex to handle than the simple design of a cane?  The less safe and efficient movement promoted by the so-called pre cane techniques?
I believe the answers to these questions will lead most parents to the decision to take charge, purchase a cane, and get started.  It may be a bit scary, and you may be a bit doubtful in the beginning, but have faith in your own intuition and in your child; you’re a team.”

Who is Joe Cutter?

“Joe Cutter, a pioneering specialist in paediatric orientation and mobility (O&M), has done much to demystify the concepts around teaching orientation and mobility to blind children and to empower parents to promote independence in their blind child. Mr. Cutter has presented professional workshops around the country and in Canada. He has also helped develop early childhood orientation and mobility and early intervention programs in several states. His credentials include over thirty-five years of experience as an O&M instructor, certification as a teacher of the blind and visually impaired, and a masters in teaching the developmentally handicapped. Informed by the experience of skilled blind travelers, Cutter has developed a unique and highly effective approach to independent movement and travel for children. Mr. Cutter brings a child-centered perspective to his teaching, promoting independent movement and travel from an early age. An advocate for parental involvement, he encourages parents to trust their own expertise as their children’s first teachers.”


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