My Cane is Great
by Susie D'Mello

From the Editor: The following item was sent to me by Sue Drapinski, one of the hardest workers in the NFB of Michigan. This is the brief note Sue sent with the article: "Mrs. Cheadle: This was written by 12-year-old Susie D'Mello from Troy, Michigan. She and her family found the NFB about two years ago through our "Saturday School" tutoring program." (The tutoring program is run by the Michigan Parents of Blind Children Division of the NFB. Blind members of the NFB tutor children in whatever blindness skills they need. It's truly one of the best, most creative programs run by any of our parent divisions.)

It's difficult to edit material written by a child. Some clean-up is always helpful, but it's important not to do so much that the unique "voice" of the child is lost. So, with only a touch-up here and there, here is what Susie D'Mello has to say about her cane:

My cane can be like a best friend to me. My cane guides me when I walk or go places. It keeps me from running into things, and it lets me know if I am on grass or concrete. At night, especially when I have to walk by myself, then my cane really comes in handy. It helps me to go where I need to be, and it makes me feel a little bit braver.

My cane helps me get around. I know that I can always ask for help if I cannot find something because of my vision. Most people know that I cannot see when they notice my cane and will assist me in a way that I understand it. If I ask for something, and the person who is helping me for some reason does not know that I need more help and that I cannot see well, than I just tell that person politely to guide me, or whatever assistance that I need. My cane, as you can see, has helped make me more independent.

Whoever invented the cane was brilliant. It may look simple but I know that it has helped many people in many ways. Sometimes, when I am at a store, I see people staring at me. I do not care because my cane does not help them, and it is worth being stared at. I use my cane at school especially when there is a fire drill or tornado drill and everybody is rushing around. I just grab my cane and stick with my class, and I know that I will be just fine. Another good thing is that, at school, a lot of people know me even if I did not know who they are. They say "Hi" to me and know why I have the cane, and they do not play with it. When I go to my piano class it is dark when I leave, so my cane helps me to get to the car by myself. If I take a walk my cane will tell me when the street comes so I do not just walk off the curb.

Being the only person in school who carries a cane makes me feel kind of special and unique. I like to carry my cane with me. All this that I have been writing proves that my cane helps me a lot because it has covered most of the areas of my life. Maybe other people don't know it, but I sure know that my cane is like a best friend to me and I am proud to have one. My cane is great.