Why are there so many different kinds of tips for a white cane? Which is best for me?

You may be asking yourself why are there so many different kinds of cane tips out there for a white cane? And how do I choose the one that is best for me. My goal in this mini-series on cane tips is to provide the answers to many of your questions. I would like to preface this by saying that if you can meet with an Orientation and Mobility Specialist in person to discuss different cane tips that would be ideal. But I realize many times that may be hard to do and having a resource to compare the pros and cons of different types of tips can be helpful. I am planning on doing individual videos and written blogs for as many cane tips as I can find. Please feel free to comment on the content of the videos and blogs and add things I may have missed.

Adding a Toilet Bowl Light to Increase Safety for Visually Impaired and Low Vision Individuals

In this article, I will be discussing how adding a toilet bowl light can be a great way to assist someone who is visually impaired or low vision to locate the toilet bowl at night. There are so many different ways of adding lighting to a bathroom to increase visibility at night. Nightlights are a great option and come in many different kinds and features. Some remain on constantly, others turn on when it gets dark, and even others use motion detection to turn on. One problem with nightlights is most need to be plugged into an outlet which limits where they can be placed. 

Another option is adding additional lighting that can be turned on manually or someone could alternatively just leave the lights on all the time. However, most people would rather not do either one of those options.

Bathrooms especially at night for someone who is visually impaired or low vision can be a real hazardous area. Most bathrooms do not have a lot of extra space to negotiate and if someone were to fall or trip the chances of falling into an object are greater then other areas of the house. Finding ways to mitigate some of the fall risk and navigation challenges is worth the time and effort.

Increasing safety in the bathroom should be a top priority. This leads me to the point of why adding a toilet bowl light could be an ideal lighting option to meet a person’s needs. Toilet bowl lights are a somewhat recent development. The concept first being pitched in 2016 on the tv show Shark Tank. A toilet bowl light is a light that hangs over the rim of the toilet as a way of illuminating the inside of the toilet bowl. There are several different brands and options out there but the one I reviewed in my video above has some cool features. First, it has eight different colors so someone can pick the color that works best for them or just let the colors cycle. The other sweet feature is it uses motion detection to turn on to preserve the battery life.

Overall, toilet bowl lights can be a good option for certain individuals who are visually impaired or low vision and it is worth being explored further. Plus the price for several different types of toilet bowl lights comes in under ten dollars on Amazon. It’s hard to beat that.

What is an Orientation & Mobility Specialist?

By Mike Mulligan

I get asked the question all the time “What is an Orientation & Mobility Specialist?” It is extremely rare when I find someone who has ever heard of it let alone can explain it to me. Today, I wanted to share with you all what an Orientation & Mobility Specialist is and does. The goal of this article is to spread awareness about what I and many other specialists do and how it positively affects people who are blind and visually impaired.

An Orientation & Mobility Specialist is an instructor who teaches people who are blind and visually impaired different travel skills. The goal of these taught travel skills is to increase an individual’s safety, efficiency, and independence while traveling. We all want to be able to move and travel safely within our environments including individuals who are blind and visually impaired. Lack of movement can lead to serious health consequences and we all should aim to move as much as we can.

The term Orientation & Mobility is used to describe the profession because it encapsulates two different aspects of what we do. First “Orientation” refers to the ability to know where you are in space, as well as knowing where you want to go. Second “Mobility” refers to the ability to travel within one’s environment safely, efficiently, and independently. Both are needed when wanting to travel safely and independently within different environments.

Some of the skills that are taught to help accomplish this goal include sensory development, protective techniques, human guide skills, using a white cane or support cane, intersection analaysis, street crossing techniques, compass directions, landmarks and clues, problem-solving skills, public transportation, and different forms of technology. As you can tell there are many different aspects involved in Orientation & Mobility.

Orientation & Mobility Specialists provide instructions that can significantly impact an individual’s well being. Please spread the news so that more people will know that there are specialists out there who are willing and ready to help individuals who are blind and visually impaired move more.

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