Welcome to The Invisible Vision Project’s Blog.
In celebration of White Cane Week 2018, this blog is dedicated to my white cane acceptance story.
Despite having lived in between Low Vision and Legal Blindness almost my entire life. It may a surprise to some people that I never started using adaptive technology, or a white cane, not until about two and half years ago. This is not because I didn’t need any of those tools, but rather, I was unaware of them.
I was first introduced to the use of a white cane in the summer of 2015, after an initial consult with a low vision specialist at the CNIB, where I talked about my fear, anxiety and safety concerns on getting around in the city. My very first reaction to the white cane (before I even see one) was “Do I qualify to use a cane?” in which looking back, I think that was one of the most hilarious questions I’ve ever asked!
The reason that I wasn’t sure whether I should use a white cane or not, was due to the lack of knowledge I had with it. Prior to using the White Cane myself, I don’t believe I have ever seen someone using a white cane (or at least I was unaware of it). I think, the only one time I saw someone using a white cane was coming from a Japanese drama called “Guide dog Quill” where the protagonist was a man with Diabetic Retinopathy, he was using a white cane before he got his first guide dog named Quill.
Another reason, why I’d think that I may not be “qualified” to use the cane was because I didn’t think I was “that blind” or “blind enough” to use one. And, I didn’t want unwanted attention and question from people-that include family, friends, or just people in general. But, despite having the doubt, I still decided to give the cane a try. So I did, and I started Orientation and Mobility training on September 25, 2015.
It was not until about a month after the training that I was fully physically and emotionally ready to use the cane. But, during that one month long training, I was so self conscious of using the cane and doubtful of its benefit. I remembered, after my very first training session with the O&M instructor, I took the cane out for a “test run” that evening with a friend, I was very nervous, and I didn’t get as far as one block outside of my apartment building, and I came home crying because I really didn’t want to use the cane out in public.
After that one month of training, the more I practiced, the more confident and comfortable I was with the cane. And, I have to say that it was the encouragement I constantly received from my O&M instructor during that month long training, and especially when she said, “just use the cane, you’ll need it,” it was that very moment I was so determined to use it, regardless of what other people think or say. I believed, it was not for others to decide that I was blind enough or qualified to use the cane or not, the decision is in my own hands.
The decision to use the cane itself was not the only reason why I was so determined, but the benefit I gained from it. I was able to be more independent after I started using the cane, both in the day time, and especially at night. I was able to get out of the house more, and I also learned the importance of asking for help when needed-advocate for myself. My white cane, it is a symbol of blindness, it may makes me stand out in public as a visibly disabled person, but it also has helped me receive the kindness of people when I ask them for help. I use a white cane, even though I’m not totally blind (and I don’t have to be to use it). My cane is not only a tool to help me get around; it may not be as lively and fun as those with a guide dog; but regardless, it has gone everywhere with me- so far, I have traveled outside of Canada twice (to the U.S and to China) with my cane, and I’m looking forward to more adventures together!
So, this concludes today’s Blog. Thank you for reading to the end!
By: The Invisible Vision Project