My mentor Scott Tong and I reported today at the organization BLIND, Inc. The organization trains children, adults and seniors a wide range of skills, including cooking, traveling and reading. Travel instructor Rob Hobson suggested I try on the opaque shades over my eyes and walk with a cane like the other students.
After donning the shades, I could not see a single thing. Hobson taught me to use the cane by grasping my hand and positioning it on his cane. He said the best way to navigate a hallway is to hold the cane like a pencil and just use your fingers. The wrist stays straight. That way, he said, your hand does not tire, yet the cane still taps a wide radius ahead of you.
Off I went. With just a cane, I could detect the terrain — hardwood and then carpet. When I tapped and hit something off to a side, it was either a door or a wall. The sound made all the difference.
Hobson said this is one of the first things BLIND, Inc. has new students do. Once they’re comfortable with their canes, they navigate within the three-floor building. And not long after that, they head out to the streets of Minneapolis to take on intersections and sidewalks.