Updated: Feb 1, 2020
This video is a series of short clips showing one, two and three year old children who are blind or have tunnel vision wearing their belt canes. Two, two-year-olds cried the first time they put their canes on, but learned to love the reliable tactile path information they get from their canes. These kids, now three years old, wear their canes to preschool everyday.
When a child cannot see well enough to avoid obstacles, they collide with them and that hurts. When you are mobility visually impaired you have no way to anticipate the collision, you can't tense up, slow down, or veer- you just make contact with the object without warning.
An eight year old sighted child who collides with something is not the same as an eight year old blind child, the sighted child can see it coming and, even if he doesn't see it, can look back and learn the location and plan course of action to prevent a next time.
A blind child cannot ever see to anticipate or look back to learn anything about the collision, there is just the collision and the only way to stop it, is to stop walking alone.
The belt cane prevents headlong collisions- and that allows blind babies to gain 18-month gross motor milestones and beyond. If you want to see three and four year olds running (24-month milestone) go to videos and click on Jojo's, Audrina or Jaxon's videos.
In the video of these children, they are all not able to get past the 12- and 15-month gross motor milestones even though they are 15-months and older (see also attached research study N=250).
The first clip is Javier. Javier is blind, 15 months at the 12-month "cruising, walks with assistance" gross motor milestone. He took his first steps ever on his own the first day he put on his belt cane- no tears. The second clip is him wearing his cane in the mall - taking lots of steps without anybody holding his hand- he is seen walking at correct developmental level "15-months -wide based gait". There is no reason for a blind child to walk without tactile path information- he will never be able to visually avoid collisions so it will always be a dangerous activity that results in gross motor delay.
The next series of clips are of Charna - she is blind and was 24 months old when she started wearing her cane. We see that Charna cried the first time she wore it, but in next clip we see her able to manipulate the belt cane when in guide. We also see she get lots of feedback from the cane. Next, we see her walking in the park and refusing to hold a hand, she is looking for her father and finds him. The clip ends after we see that she stops at a break in the sidewalk, and when she hears someone walk past her, scrunching leaves, she gets the information she needs to continue walking -concept development.
Then we have Matias - he was 21 months old, blind, and at the 12 month gross motor - "walks with assistance, cruising" when in solitary play he won't let go or cross open space. He too cried when introduced to the belt cane, the video shows that when the belt cane frame connects the wall, and when he gets tactile feedback from the toy touching the frame, he stops crying and starts paying attention, after that we see him walking well, and playing in the center of the room, dragging a toy around, wearing his cane.
Next, I included a series of clips that demonstrate the belt cane's ability to detect/communicate drop offs-in the background of Jaxon's clip we hear his mom and O&M specialists say- when he doesn't wear his cane he always trips around the door- and with the belt cane, he doesn't trip.
The final set of clips is a 33 month old boy, blind - who is on our waiting list. This 33 month old boy, won't walk on his own-and when guided his face shows a great deal of stress- he is at 10-month gross motor milestone, stands. He won't walk, he, like all the others has a vision specialist in early education; she is recommending the belt cane. We see him working with a PT in the last two clips. The PT is pulling him, singing the same song, Javier's dad was singing to the 15 month old- twinkle star- but this child is twice the age and so far behind in his gross motor. PTs train to work with kids who are paralyzed and have motor impairments, this boy is paralyzed with fear- he doesn't need a PT he needs a belt cane. He needs consistent tactile path information about surfaces, objects and drop offs.
The current pediatric belt cane does not have all the answers, but it does improve life because, blind kids need consistent, reliable tactile path information - and when they get it- they do walk independently- without prompts - and they love it.
I do have a lot of data showing these wonderful changes in children - new changes- changes never before seen in children who are blind- with current instructional methods. This video shows that the belt cane is a great step forward for mobility visually impaired and blind babies.