I think it is important to educate people that vision loss is a spectrum like any other disability. When I meet people with my cane, I tell them (sometimes) that it tells others that I am visually impaired. You can also say that the cane is an extension of my person, and it gives me information that my eyes do not. for example, a cane can alert a person when a change of terrain occurs.
I get asked this question alot!:) I tell them that I use my cane because I can't see very well, and also so that people will know that I can't see.
If someone would ask that to me i would say something sarcastic like:
"Why do you use that round balls in your face? Are you blind?"
"No i'm just playing around you know?"
Adam, This question is probably something your going to have to deal with for the rest of your life. I think you should be honest and state that the cane is a tool that helps you travel with more confidence then if you were to travel without it. 90% of people who are blind have some useable or functional vision, this does not mean they still would not benefit from a tool like the white cane. I hope you always use the cane because you feel and believe that it makes you a better traveller, this is why I use the cane and/or stick!
Some of my low-vision students say:
* I have no depth perception; this cane keeps me safe.
* I want you to know I don't see well.
* I can only see well enough to travel without this in the sun. I need to be safe indoors too.
* I need to learn how to use the cane before my remaining vision is gone.
* I only see about 15% of the obstacles in my path. This cane is for the other 80%.
* I need my remaining vision to see where I'm going, and my cane prevents me from tripping so I don't need to watch the ground.
* I don't see well enough to read signs, so this helps others know why I'm asking them for direction!
Why do people that are haring impaired use hearing aids? To hear better. I use a wheel chair but I can walk. I walk like a drunk and fall alot too. The chair prevents me from breaking my bones. I am also profoundly deaf but I can talk and I use sign language when people talk to me. Now I may need a white cane because after a stroke my vision is narrowed down so much it seems I am looking thru a toilet paper tube. I would run my chair right off the curb. and I am night blind. Everything goes to fuzz in low lighting which makes balance and orientation even worse.
Little kids ask about my daughter's cane, or just watch intently. I say, "Isn't this cool? It helps her find the steps and bumps before she gets to them." And between ourselves in the family, we say "better to find it with your cane than with your face".
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