Being able to safely navigate through closed doors using a white cane is a critical skill that all white cane users should be able to perform. Safety is paramount when it comes to Orientation & Mobility. If a person with visual impairment does not take necessary precautions to ensure a safe passage through a doorway, they could face significant injury. Basement stairs, objects or obstacles behind the door, or even people standing behind the door are some examples of hazards that may be encountered on the other side. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to safely pass through a close doorway using a white cane.
STEP 1: Locate and contact the door with the cane
Step 2: Anchor the cane by resting the cane tip where the door and floor meet
STEP 3: Raise the cane up vertical against the door (straight up and down) and in the process switch to pencil grip
STEP 4: Keep arm’s length away from the door to prevent getting hit with an opening door
STEP 5: Lift cane up off the ground slightly aiming for one to two inches.
STEP 6: Move the cane horizontally (left and right) to locate the door knob
STEP 7: Find the cane with the free hand then slide that hand down the cane to locate the door knob
STEP 8: Open the door making sure to give enough space for the door to fully open
STEP 9: Sweep the cane in the area you are about to walk to make sure it is clear and safe to proceed though the doorway
This is a critical Orientation & Mobility skill and I highly recommend practicing this skill until it becomes second nature every time a closed door is passed through. Please reach out to an Orientation & Mobility Specialist if you have questions or need assistance in learning this skill.
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