When I was a student at Perkins School for the blind from 1969 to 1977, one thing that amazed me was how the children on campus traveled without a cane. At that time, it didn’t occur to me just how important the cane really was, and even after I took mobility lessons, I put the cane away and continued to walk around the Perkins grounds without it, as did everybody else.
As I grew more dependent on the cane with time and with additional training, I have become amazed at what we did on the Perkins campus. How did we do it, especially those of us with no vision at all? Did we sense where landmarks were because, prior to mobility training, we had no choice? I remember totally blind children leading their friends from building to building without their canes, and I simply took it for granted that this is how it was in life. It’s not like someone put a cane in our hands the moment we arrived at Perkins for the first time. We learned mobility at a given time in our curriculum.
Today, the cane is part of me. I never leave home without it. I thank God that I learned travel skills at Perkins and in my college years, so that I can be as independent as possible. With that said, I applaud how brave we apparently were at Perkins, and how determined we were to reach our destination with lots of confidence, while all we carried were our school books, but no cane.
If you read my book, “My Home Away From Home, Life At Perkins School for the Blind” you will learn more about my experiences as a teenager who had to live away from home.
Did you ever travel a lot without a cane as a child before you were taught mobility?