Braille Monitor                                                                  April-May 1985

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Cane Travel Workshop

by Christine Roberts

(Note: Christine Roberts is the President of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska. Her address is: 1615 Garfield Street, #12, Lincoln, Nebraska 68502.)

The ability to travel competently plays a large part in our independence as blind persons. Yet, this fact is seldom if ever realized by agencies serving the blind today. Consequently, we in the National Federation of the Blind had begun to seek out other sources for this type of training. As usual, the answer lay within our midst. Last year at the national convention in Phoenix, the first cane travel workshop took place, and although one cannot learn all there is to know about successful independent travel in just one day, every little bit helps.

The second annual cane travel workshop will be held on Saturday, June 29, 1985, in Louisville. We will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a discussion and overview of the techniques to be used when traveling with a long white cane. These are not the methods designed by the experts but rather they are the tried and true tools of the trade which blind travelers have found to be the most efficient. During this period there will also be an orientation to our hotel and its surroundings for those who wish. Next, we will break into classes with two or three students per instructor. These classes are divided according to experience, and instructor and student work together in designing appropriate travel routes. For the next two hours these classes will be free to explore the hotel or downtown Louisville or both, depending on the wishes and needs of the students. Afterward, students have approximately two hours of independent study time during which to practice all of the things they learned in the morning. We shall gather again at the end of the day in order to exchange ideas and suggestions for future workshops and to ask and answer any questions which may arise as a result of the day's travels. This workshop will conclude at 4:00 p.m.

Because of the special nature of this workshop, we ask that those wishing to participate make an effort to devote the entire day to travel training. Persons arriving late are likely to find an empty room since we will all be out roaming the streets of Louisville. Also, for planning purposes it is extremely helpful if those interested in taking part in this exciting event can contact me prior to the convention. Please drop me a line in print, Braille, or tape stating whether you wish to be a student or an instructor and how much travel experience you have had.

NFB canes can be purchased at the workshop for a cost of $10. Those wishing to use sleepshades (blindfolds) as a part of their training must provide them or let me know that you need them when you write.