27 Sep East Texas resident takes white cane training course while losing vision
As is Kari. They wear eye masks to block what little light they do see, since in the future light will leave them. They are taking Orientation and Mobility training offered by Texas Workforce Commission and it will:
“Teach me how to use my white cane. Personally, I’ve decided to go low tech for now,” Hale said.
She says in the future she will learn tech for the visually impaired, but one thing at a time.
“For me since I’m younger I’m used to using technology and I just can’t pull my phone out,” Bradley said.
So, they use their canes to get familiar with a street corner. They listen to traffic to figure out their surroundings.
“On the street that you’re crossing, you want your body to be perpendicular to that traffic,” Hale said.
And parallel to the other traffic.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s good,” Hale said.
Rhonda Miller with the Texas Workforce Commission instructs them how to “see” with other senses.
“Rhonda is great. And so, we just come out and do these two-hour lessons. And I’m learning. I’m doing better than I did the first day. And she’s teaching us to use the sun to orient ourselves,” Hale said.
After about two months of classes:
“I found the post office. If I needed to mail anything that would be great,” Hale said.
Kari had to share that with Gavin.
“If you follow this rail, it’s going to twist and turn,” Kari said to Gavin.
And they both found the door.
“I feel like if it wasn’t for her, it would have taken me a little bit longer,” Bradley said.
So, they are getting closer to becoming familiar with corners like Fredonia and Methvin in downtown Longview, and with it a better sense of space.
The Texas Workforce Commission is teaming up with the Lighthouse for the Blind for a “U.S. White Cane Day” celebration. Officially the day is October 15 every year, but the celebration in Tyler will be Friday October 13 from 10am to 2pm at Bergfeld Park in Tyler.