Visual and hearing impairments
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When do you start using a white cane?

mariawmariaw Member Posts: 2 Listener
Hello everyone I hope you are enjoying the summer 😊. I have glaucoma which means my eyes are extremely sensative to everything..wind, rain, lights and of course sunlight. It doesnt stop me getting out and about yet for which I am grateful. I have a question for white stick users..when is the best time to get one as I think it may take training to use one.


  • steve51steve51 Community champion Posts: 6,990 Disability Gamechanger
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 9,477 Scope community team
    Hi @mariaw and the warmest welcome to the community! I hope you will find the online community a supportive environment where others can provide advice and guidance. Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us all. I too have a visual impairment and started using a white cane about a year ago. It is down to personal preference if you use one. However, I have found that my cane has been way more useful then I anticipated! I don't think I realised how much it could help until I got one. I also don't know if my sight will get worse, I felt it would be useful to learn to use a white cane while I still had some useful vision. I completely can emphasise with the emotional aspect of using a cane and this was something I struggled with in the beginning. Please do feel free to message me if you want to talk about this more :)

    If you need anything else then please do not hesitate to be in touch! 
    Community Partner
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 4,719 Disability Gamechanger
    Wholly agree with @Chloe_Scope that it’s a personal choice. However some of that choice is informed by the extent to which people, including sensory impairment professionals, explain canes and support the use of them. Some people feel it might make them a target so it’s quite a revelation to have one and realise what a protection it is in such a wide range of circumstances. There’s a few blogs about which specifically talk about cane use and lots of Youtube videos. They’re a mixed bag but there’s some good stuff out there. 

    It can be very confusing cos most people don’t realise there’s 6 different types of cane; training only seems to exist intermittently for navigation/long canes and none at all for guide or symbol canes. 

    My assumption is you’re referring to a navigation cane but has anyone even explained the difference? A symbol cane can be a good way into getting used to travelling with one but ultimately you need to talk to your sensory impairment team and travel trainers. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 9,477 Scope community team
    Thank you @mikehughescq for that! Great advice! The RNIB website explains the different types of canes and how they can all be used- this might be worth a look, @mariaw :)
    Community Partner
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 4,719 Disability Gamechanger
    I think part of the problem is that canes get explained like that but no-one explains the rest of the stuff like the protective aspect. Also, the fact that there’s no agreed way of using any cane bar a long/navigation cane.
  • mariawmariaw Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank you so much for your replies they are very helpful and informative. I will have a look on the sites you recommended 👍
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