How-to Introduce the Pediatric Belt Cane by age

Alilah is 16 months old with optic nerve hypoplasia. Her mom and COMS immediately started encouraging her to walk and hold the cane frame. This appears to put her off balance. Later we see her walking alone wearing her cane.

Javi is 17 months old, some light perception. We immediately started tapping the frame, this communicated the size, shape and resilience of tactile path information to him.

If the child rejects the belt cane with tears, try distracting the child by finding objects with the cane frame.

Jack's teachers introduced the belt cane by incorporating cane information into the route. Show the child that the cane will contact surfaces and objects in the path ahead. this communicates he cane trust the benefits of belt canes.

Lessons learned introducing belt canes to two-year-olds

a. Have Confidence

b. Have a Plan

c. Keep trying, they will get it.

When Charna, blind, cries and demands the cane off her mom takes the belt cane off. She decides to slowly introduce the parts of the cane to Charna. This allows her to calm down and get to know her new mobility tool, before putting it back on.

Two-year-old girl Later the same day, Charna wore her cane with fewer tears.

Allow the child time to sit, stand, listen, feel. There is no hurry to change life, just add the belt to the family activities.

Make it natural, and be confident in the knowledge that wearing the cane will be the first time that three year old with mobility visual impairment or blindness experiences consistent tactile path information.

Older children experience excitement and relief with having the tactile information, while the mechanics of tactile path preview may take some new negotiation actions- information is power.


Maddox has some light perception. The more he wears his cane, the more it becomes a part of him. His mom entices him to stand up independently with the plan to go get some milk.

Maddox's first time getting to the floor, is rough, more of a plop. He learns to use the fire place ledge to help lower himself to the floor. He is a pro at standing back up again.


How-to stand up wearing the belt cane

Stands up independently first time wearing belt cane.

Madison is blind. Her mom gave her lots of time, practice and encouragement. When Madison stood up, she was given lots of praise. Notice that Madison is able to "fix her cane" independently and without any prompting.


Charna is blind and her cane is too long for her height. Her mom and dad gave her lots of time, practice and encouragement. They offered her a stool to push up with. Charna is able to "fix her cane" independently after standing up.

Kenedi is blind and she shows how easily she is able to stand up wearing her belt cane.

Gracie is visually impaired. Her teachers are working on her skills for standing up independently. Wearing her belt cane she has two hands to carry her baby doll.

How to close the door with tight spaces frame

Two-year-old girl

Charna is blind and she is wearing her tight-spaces cane. She is seen closing the door without prompting. The first time, she wants to be with her sisters in their room. The second time, she wants to be in the room alone. At the end we see her stand up wearing her cane.


How to explain the benefits of the belt cane

The belt cane provides important information through sensory feedback.

Surface - When the frame of the cane moves along a path, through tactile/haptic/auditory feedback communicates "clear path", "wood floor", "carpet", "cement", "tile", "concrete", "grass", "snow", "puddle", "gravel", etc.

Objects - When the belt cane frame contacts an object, the child feels "blocked path".  The harder a child pushes, bangs, scrapes and explores with the frame, the more information the child obtains about the object (e.g., height, weight, size, material).


Drop-offs - When the base of the cane drops below the child's feet, she feels the drop-off- the floor is lower. The child can be taught to stop and carefully slide her feet closer to the edge to locate a handrail, or to just turn around.


Question: Is the belt cane hands free or not?

Answer:  The belt cane can be worn by a child who is not yet able to control/manipulate the frame independently. They learn to adjust the frame, the more they wear it.

Basic lesson

1. The cane frame finds things, let's contact and name them. This is done by helping the child to contact obstacles with the frame as soon as possible.


a. Put obstacles nearby and help move the cane shafts to contact them.

b. Use the cane frame to locate the wall, door jamb and repeatedly knock them.

c. Allow the child to locate an adult's feet with the cane frame.