Hand Trailing Without a Cane

Hand trailing is a basic O&M technique that comes after learning both upper and lower protective techniques which you can learn about here. Hand Trailing has several benefits which are listed below but one thing to note is that this technique is mainly used in familiar controlled indoor environments. This technique is not recommended for unfamiliar uncontrolled environments.

Benefits of Hand Trialing

  • Keeping a straight line of travel
  • Locating specific objects or destinations
  • Determining where a person is located in space

Before I get into the steps of hand trailing one thing to note. Consistent contact should always be maintained with the trailing surface this is important because if contact is lost it may be hard to find landmarks for orientation purposes. Here are the steps to properly hand trail. When first learning hand trailing it is good to practice on a familiar indoor wall with few to no obstacles present.

Step 1: Face the desired direction of travel and position one’s shoulder parallel to the wall. The shoulder should be a few inches away from the wall.

Step 2: Lift the arm that is closest to the wall and stretch it out forward with one’s hand a little above waist level. Like you are reaching out to grab a doorknob or something off a table.

Step 3: The elbow should be slightly bent to absorb some of the force when contacting an obstacle.

Step 3: The palm should face the floor and the fingers curled to absorb any force when contacting an obstacle.

Step 4: When trailing the pinky and ring finger should gently be touching the wall that is being trailed.

Step 5: Proceed along the wall and keep in consistent contact with it.

Hand trailing is a good technique to have in ones’ toolbox. However, the more experienced a traveler becomes the less trailing techniques will be needed. To see a video description check out the video at the top of this page or click here.

Published by Mike Mulligan

Is a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist who provides product resources, reviews, and tutorials.

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