Maximizing Sight and Understanding Blindness
35-Day Author Blog Challenge – Day 19
This month is set aside to educate the world about vision issues. Orientation and Mobility Tools are a key to maintaining independence.
October – White Cane Safety Awareness Month
October marks the start of White Cane Safety Awareness Month. Advocate and Sight groups have several events and activities throughout the month to raise understanding and awareness.
October 15 is Annual White Cane Safety Day.
About White Cane Law
The white cane (or mobility cane) enables a person who is blind to travel on his own. In 1931, Lions Clubs took on an active role in advocating the of standard white canes for those who are blind. These later became the national identification for the blind. Every state and many countries have White Cane laws, which allow pedestrians who are legally blind the right of way at street crossings. Some states have a White Cane Law that requires motorists to come to a complete stop whenever they see a pedestrian who uses a dog guide or white cane at a street crossing.
In addition to October serving to bring awareness to those using white canes in the United States, it is also recognized around the world on International White Cane Awareness Day.
Helpful Do’s and Don’ts
Here is a list of do’s and don’ts to aid when interacting with a blind or visually-impaired person.
- When in doubt, ask if the person needs assistance.
- Do not grab the person, cane or dog guide.
- Do not pet a dog guide. Most dog guides are working & should not be petted since it can be distracting for the dog.
- Identify yourself when you come in to a room and let the person know when you are leaving a room or location.
- When you speak about someone with a disability, refer to the person and then to the disability. For example, refer to “a person who is blind” rather than to “a blind person.”
- Always yield to white cane and dog guide users at street crossings – it’s the law!
A Vision-impaired Friend Learns How to Use a White Cane to Regain Independence
There are several month-long awareness campaigns as well as individual events planned for specified days set aside to spotlight vision and blindness issues. Here are some of them:
World Blindness Awareness Month
Eye Care Awareness Month
White Cane Safety Day
National Braille Week
World Sight Day
Blind Americans’ Equality Day