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.
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.
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.
This video shows his ability to problem solve. Maddox's first time getting to the floor, is rough, more of a plop. The next time he uses the fire place ledge to help lower himself to the floor. However, he is a pro standing back up again.
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. She was given lots of praise. Notice that Charna is able to "fix her cane" independently after standing up.
How to close the door with tight spaces frame
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
Plain and simple the belt cane provides important information through touch.
1. Surface - When the frame of the cane moves along a clear path, it communicates "clear path" to the child. It also sends information about the surface, "wood floor", "carpet", "cement", "tile", "concrete", "grass", "snow", "puddle", "gravel", etc.
2. Objects - When the belt cane frame contacts an object, it communicates "blocked path" to the child. It says either the object is fixed and unmovable or that the object moves. The harder a child pushes, bangs, scrapes and explores with the frame, the more information it communicates about the object (e.g., height, weight, size, material).
3. Drop-offs - When the base of the cane drops below the feet, the belt cane communicates drop-off- the floor is lower. The child can learn to stop when that happens and carefully slide the feet closer to the edge to get more information about depth and to locate a handrail, or to decide to turn around and avoid it altogether.
Question: Is the belt cane hands free or hands optional?
Answer: Both! The belt cane is hands optional, as on smooth surfaces children are able to walk without guiding the cane. In this video we see a little three-year-old girl who is blind, she has been wearing her cane for over a year and is adept at manipulating it.
Adults cane help to adjust the cane to be in front of the child, too.
a. Children grasping and touching the cane happens naturally as the child gains confidence.
b. It is good to show the child that they can hold the cane and lift the shafts and bang it, but they are not required to hold it when they walk.
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.
More to come...