Cane Travel Class allows students to develop the skills and self-confidence they need to travel independently anywhere they need to go.
Some people think that blind people can only get to where they need to be by following a set route that they have memorized in great detail. Some people think that blind people cannot use public transportation or find their way around unfamiliar places. Some people believe that blind people should not go places by themselves at all. However, at BLIND, Incorporated, we know that these notions just do not hold up. We teach our students to use a long white cane to travel safely and freely to wherever they wish to go.
Each of our students works at his or her own pace. We meet our students where they are at and encourage them to reach their fullest potential. When they begin their travel training, many of our students are nervous or even afraid, but we help them to work through that fear. We start by teaching them how to hold a cane and use it to locate stairs, curbs, and obstacles they need to avoid. We teach them how to listen to traffic patterns so that they can cross streets safely. We teach them how to ride the city bus and use cardinal directions to keep track of their location. Each lesson builds on the previous lessons and soon students can notice a difference in the way they are walking. They may walk more quickly or stop looking down at the ground. Their confidence begins to increase and their fear starts to fade.
Our travel lessons are very functional. Students learn to travel by accomplishing the daily tasks that everyone needs to accomplish such as going to the bank, post office, grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, etc. They learn to use the address system to locate businesses, they learn to use the transit information line to plan their trip, and they learn to use customer assistance to shop for what they need.
As students develop their skills and become more comfortable with those skills, they begin going out on solo lessons. They start by taking short walks around the neighborhood and gradually work their way up to more advanced assignments. This allows students to think independently and develop their problem solving skills. They learn that they do not need to wait around for someone to take them somewhere, they can get there themselves.