[nabs-l] FW: [Nfb-history] Fw: [stylist] Part 2- History of long cane and theblind

Carrie Gilmer carrie.gilmer at gmail.com
Thu Dec 4 14:13:24 UTC 2008

History of the cane part two...thanks again Robert!

Carrie Gilmer, President
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
A Division of the National Federation of the Blind
NFB National Center: 410-659-9314
Home Phone: 763-784-8590
carrie.gilmer at gmail.com

-----Original Message-----
From: nfb-history-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfb-history-bounces at nfbnet.org]
On Behalf Of Robert Jaquiss
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 9:23 PM
To: NFB History Support List
Subject: [Nfb-history] Fw: [stylist] Part 2- History of long cane and


     Here is the second article on this subject. Not sure why the first 
article was assembled from six pieces.


Robert Jaquiss

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert Newman" <newmanrl at cox.net>
To: "'NFBnet Writer's Division Mailing List'" <stylist at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 6:37 PM
Subject: [stylist] Part 2- History of long cane and the blind

> Here is Jeff Altman's article which was published in the
> "Encyclopedia of Disability 2008."
> Headword#857
> Jeff Altman
> Mar. 08
> Long Canes
> The use of a cane or a long staff as an adaptive tool for independent 
> travel
> by the BLIND has been documented throughout much of history. 
> Traditionally,
> the "long cane" is so named because it is much longer than the orthopedic
> cane; when held vertically, it often reaches to the middle of the chest, 
> or
> to the height between the individual's chin and nose. Long canes are often
> referred to as "white canes" but they are not always the same. The latter
> refers to any cane that is white in color (sometimes with a red tip) and 
> has
> primarily been viewed as a means of identifying blind persons so that they
> might receive assistance and additional consideration from the normally
> sighted public. This traditional view of the cane's coloring continues to 
> be
> held by many members of the public, but among blind Americans the long 
> white
> cane increasingly has become a symbol of independence. Changes in long 
> came
> technology, usage, and instruction reflect the changing history of blind
> people.
> In the colonial period canes were usually made of wood or bamboo,
> although even steel was sometimes used in spite of the disadvantages 
> created
> by this material's weight. Often these canes were hand-made by blind 
> persons
> themselves, their family members, or by local artisans. These early canes
> usually reflected the individual user's needs, preferences, and 
> experiences
> interacting with the environment.
> With the industrial revolution in the 1800s, manufactured canes designed 
> to
> meet the needs of persons with orthopedic disabilities became more common,
> and often blind persons adopted these for their own use. The availability
> and abundance of well-made canes promoted this choice, but other 
> motivations
> influenced blind people's decisions to use these kinds of canes.  The long
> staff, in spite of its many advantages as a travel tool, carried the
> symbolic and centuries-old STIGMA associated with blind beggars. Less
> conspicuous, orthopedic canes enabled some blind people to "pass" as less
> disabled.
> Historically, the manner in which blind persons used the cane varied from
> one individual to another, and most blind travelers developed their own 
> cane
> techniques, although throughout history blind persons commonly have shared
> their knowledge with one another. In the late 1800s, some European schools
> began developing formalized training for independent travel by the blind,
> which in most cases did not specifically address the effective use of the
> cane.  In the United States, such training was commonly presented by a
> member of the teaching staff at residential schools for the blind. Usually

> a
> blind Physical Fitness instructor introduced use of the cane and basic
> travel techniques to students in the weeks just before graduation.
> World War II contributed to the rise of standardized methods for using the
> cane as a tool for independent travel as many blinded veterans returned 
> from
> the battlefields. Dr. Richard Hoover of the Valley Forge Army Hospital is
> credited with first introducing a longer cane specifically designed to 
> meet
> the needs of non-visual travel, and to standardize an effective technique
> for the use of the long cane. When held vertically, Hoover's cane reached
> roughly to the middle of the individual's chest. The "two point touch," or
> "two tap," technique he developed involved arcing the cane evenly across 
> the
> traveler's body, opposite of the person's footsteps, so that the cane 
> clears
> effectively for obstacles ahead, allowing the person time to react.
> These conventional canes have changed little in their design since the
> 1940s. They have been commonly made of aluminum, although with the
> development of lighter weight, more durable materials, fiberglass or 
> carbon
> fiber have become more common. Designed for the purpose of independent
> non-visual travel, their length is usually determined by factors such as 
> the
> individual's height, length of stride, and personal preferences for
> successfully interacting with the environment. One exception is the
> different types of cane tips.  Early developers and users recognized that
> canes wore down over time from the friction created when it contacted the
> ground, or  became stuck on surfaces such as concrete. Early cane tips 
> were
> only slightly larger in diameter than the cane shaft and either made of
> metal or nylon. Beginning in the 1980s, new types of cane tips were
> developed to address problems caused by sidewalk cracks and changes in
> techniques.
> Other cane styles trace their development to the mid to late 1950s and the
> organized blindness movement, specifically from the efforts of  the 
> FEDERATION OF THE BLIND. These canes emerged from the collective knowledge
> of blind persons themselves. These canes tend to be longer and lighter, 
> with
> tapered, hollow, semi flexible, fiberglass shafts; they also have metal 
> tips
> designed to produce superior auditory and tactile information that aids 
> the
> traveler with echolocation and recognizing changes in surfaces.
> Since World War II, two significantly different models for instruction in
> non-visual independent travel skills have emerged. Clinical settings, most
> predominantly associated with Dr. Richard Hoover's pioneering work, 
> defined
> one approach. Clinical proponents identified with the MEDICAL MODEL coined
> the term "Orientation and Mobility."  This term refers to instruction that
> assists the blind person to learn techniques that allow him or her to 
> remain
> oriented, while moving safely through the environment.
> Building  from the medical and military training models of the 1940s
> Conventional Orientation and Mobility  instructors tend to view their role
> similarly to that of an occupational therapist, seeking ways to reduce the
> blind person's level of dependency by enhancing the use of their remaining
> vision, and introducing non-visual techniques only where necessary. Under
> this model, expertise is considered  the intellectual property of the
> professional instructors, who are wholly responsible for the safety of 
> their
> students, lessons are presented in a set sequence of steps formulated by
> experts in the field, and reinforced with students through repetition and
> interaction with the instructor. Because of this instructional approach, 
> and
> the belief that independent travel for the blind is complex, difficult, 
> and
> potentially dangerous, for many years professionals in this model
> considered it ineffective and unsafe for blind persons to enter the field.
> As a result, the certification process associated with conventional
> Orientation and Mobility resisted providing certification to qualified 
> blind
> and visually impaired instructors until well after the enactment of the 
> 1990
> The other model for instruction in non-visual travel skills resulted from
> the organized blindness movement and was based upon the collective 
> knowledge
> of blind persons themselves. Beginning in 1958 Dr. KENNETH JERNIGAN
> developed this model, building from the philosophical approach of the
> National Federation of the Blind that generated a consumer-driven model of
> rehabilitation for the blind. In this model, often referred to as the 
> "Iowa
> model," the instructor's role is to assist the student to develop a highly
> functional non-visual understanding of the environment and personal
> expertise with non-visual travel.  In other words, the body of knowledge,
> and the locus of control, are as quickly as possible transferred from the
> instructor to the student. This model has since been defined within the
> framework of "cognitive learning theory," through the work of Richard
> Mettler in 1995 and As a result, this model of Orientation and Mobility is
> commonly referred to as "Structured Discovery. This approach now also 
> offers
> a university level program for instructor preparation and certification.
> Changes in cane use and the educational practices for cane usage reflect
> larger historical progressions in disability history. The history of the
> long cane demonstrates the powerful links between adaptive devices,
> rehabilitation, medical and social interpretations of blindness, as well 
> as
> Jeff Altman
> Further Reading
> Hill, P. and P. Ponder. Orientation And Mobility, A Guide For The
> Practitioner. New York, American Foundation For The Blind, 1976.
> Jernigan, K. "The Nature Of Independence: An Address Delivered To The
> National Convention Of: The National Federation Of The Blind." Dallas,
> Texas, July 6, 1993.
> Kozel, R.  "The History Of O&M." Blinded Veterans Association Bulletin, 
> 1997
> Mettler R. "The cognitive paradigm for teaching cane travel :Orientation 
> and
> Mobility for Blind People." American Rehabilitation 23, no. 3 
> (Autumn-Winter
> 1997): 18-23.
> Olson, C. On The Use Of The Blindfold. Lincoln NE: Nebraska Department of
> Public Institutions, Division of Rehabilitation Services for the Visually
> Impaired, 1982.
> Morais, M. E.,  P. Lorensen, R. Allen,  E. C.Bell, A. Hill, and E. Woods.
> Techniques Used By Blind Cane Travel Instructors, A Practical Approach,
> Learning, Teaching, Believing. Baltimore, The National Federation of the
> Blind, 1997.
> President NFB Writers' Division
> Robert Leslie Newman
> Email- newmanrl at cox.net
> Division Website-
> Http://www.nfb-writers-division.org
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