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Kent Association for the Blind

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Mobility Cane

Should I use a white cane?

It depends upon each individual's needs. How much useful vision do you have? Do you have other disability needs such as a hearing impairment? Do you live in a town or city or in a predominantly rural environment? Most importantly, what are your mobility needs? Do you want to be able to use public transport and make longer journeys, or are you more interested in shorter local trips? You should discuss these issues with your KAB Mobility Officer who will be able to advise you on whether you need a white cane and what type would suit you best. 

Do I need to be registered to use a cane?


How long will it take me to learn to use a long cane?

This depends upon the individual, their needs and if they have any other needs such as a hearing impairment. Some people learn in a few sessions; for others it can take much longer.

What are the different types of cane for?

  • A symbol cane is the shortest type of cane. It is intended only to inform other people that your sight is impaired. It is not intended to be used as a mobility aid and, unlike a walking stick, it is not strong enough to support your weight.

  • A guide cane is designed to be a mobility aid to help you locate obstacles in your path or warn you about pavement edges, and kerbs. They are also not designed to be used to support your weight.

  • A long cane is also a mobility aid but it is much longer than a guide cane. It is used to scan the ground in front of you as you walk. The scanning takes the form of sweeping the cane in an arc from one side to the other just beyond the width of the body to locate obstacles and changes in surface level such as kerbs and steps. Before you can use a long cane, you will need to be trained by a KAB Mobility Officer. A long cane is not designed to support your weight.


How do I know when my long cane tip needs replacing?

The tip of the cane is supposed to be round and move freely as you sweep the cane in front of you. The tip needs replacing when it starts to snag and is no longer round at the bottom.

When should my child start independent travel?

When they are ready. All children develop and grow at their own speed and this includes the need to be independent either in mobility or daily living skills. It is vitally important for your child to receive the training required to help them achieve the independence they need to fulfil their potential in these skills areas. Long before a child starts independent travel a KAB mobility officer can give advice and support.

When should my child start using a cane?

It depends on your child. Because every child's needs are different, the only way to tell is by observing how your child moves and how keen they are to try new challenges. Your KAB Rehab Worker will be able to support and advise you with this.

I'd like to have a guide dog. How can I go about getting one?

Contact your local Guide Dogs Mobility Centre.

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