Visually impaired blogger Rebecca Yeomans, shares her journey of how she came to like using her cane and viewing it as a vital tool for her independence. #LoveMyCane
I was a cane user for most of my childhood and into my late teenage years. I still use my long cane on occasion when I can’t take my Guide Dog and I’ve come to the realisation that I don’t mind using it. In fact, I like using it.
A cane can keep you safe
I first used a symbol cane and then a guide cane with no ball at the end. The symbol cane I hated with a passion and used to try not to use it. Don’t follow my example. I honestly would not recommend this!! Listen to your family and mobility instructors, a cane is there to keep you safe, no matter how embarrassed or uncomfortable you might be. It is there to let others know that you have a visual impairment and is vital for when you’re out and about. My guide cane, which I hold diagonally across my body is so helpful when it gets dark, when there are lots of people or if I am in a place I don’t know very well. I have no depth perception so walking up and downstairs, stepping off curbs or if pavements are uneven can be scary and I could trip and seriously injure myself. A cane can ensure you have extra time to do things, like climb stairs, navigate busy roads or walk around places safely.
People think you might not need a cane, but trust me, if you are given one and taught how to use it properly, you will need it. It acts as your protector, it lets you know if there are things in the way.
‘I got unwanted attention’
I think I was embarrassed as a child to use a cane because it singled me out and I got unwanted attention. It can be stressful and anxious enough going outside without people shouting at you or trying to pull you to one side for your own safety when you’re perfectly able to manage on your own or with a guide. It can be frustrating at times if it gets kicked, knocked or pulled from your grip. But those kinds of things are uncommon, and you can’t let them stop you using your mobility aid. And when you’re over 18 and trying to get into a pub, your cane can come to your advantage when you try to explain to the bouncers that you’re visually impaired!
‘Your cane has got your back’
If I could go back and tell my 10-year-old self to use my symbol cane more often and not feel embarrassed, I would. It would have saved me a lot of trips, awkward conversations and accidents. Think of it as one of your friends who has always got your back, it will always be there when you need it. I enjoy using my guide cane because it gives me the space and time I need to get around safely.
This blog was written by Rebecca Yeomans for our #LoveMyCane campaign, all about encouraging visually impaired young people to think more positively about the cane.