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Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Information Resources Orientation and Mobility Series: Orientation October 2021

Orientation October: History of the White Cane and White Cane Safety Day/White Cane Awareness Day

History of the White Cane

In older literature and in written accounts of daily life, it is common to read that a person who was blind/had low vision used a long object such as a branch or metal pole while walking to give them information about the ground in front of them so that they could safely navigate. It truly was a fantastic innovation that blind/low vision individuals created themselves: if one cannot feel the ground while also trying to walk, then they thought to make a longer device that could give them information from the ground so that they could safely and confidently navigate.

Not until the 1930s did it become standardized for blind people to use the white cane specifically. The white cane has become a symbol that indicates blindness or low vision around the world. The white color allows the cane to be seen more easily in the dark. Blind/low vision cane users today enjoy all kinds of benefits from the standardization of the white cane, including customizable lengths, materials, and weights.

What is White Cane Safety Day?

October 15 marks White Cane Safety Day, which is a time to educate society about the white cane and how blind/low vision people travel. It is a time to be proud of the innovation that keeps cane users safe and traveling confidently to the things that they want and need to do.

White Cane Safety Day was established nationally in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Here is the proclamation as made at that time:

“The white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person’s ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and special consideration to the blind on our streets and highways. To make our people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it Congress, by a joint resolution approved as of October 6, 1964, has authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day. Now, therefore, I Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America do hereby proclaim October 15, 1964 as White Cane Safety Day.”

What about White Cane Awareness Day?

In the decades since 1964, some in the blindness/low vision community believe that, “the emphasis of White Cane Safety Day has shifted over time away from safety, and toward independence and equality” and have adopted the term “White Cane Awareness Day” to “to celebrate this history and recognize the white cane as the tool that allows the blind to “come and go on [our] own” as President Lyndon Johnson said back in 1964.” National Federation of the Blind. Additional organizations that celebrate White Cane Awareness Day include the U.S. Library of Congress, the National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision, the American Printing House for the Blind, The Braille Institute, and many Lighthouses for the Blind across the country.

Canes and more! Blind Americans Equality Day

In 2011, President Barrack Obama proclaimed October 15, 2011 “Blind Americans Equality Day.” In his proclamation, he referenced the original “White Cane Safety Day” proclamation and specifically recognized the importance of technological accessibility, including moving the federal government toward compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. You may read the entire proclamation at Presidential Proclamation – Blind Americans Equality Day, 2011.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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Bridges Blog Educational Resources Extracurricular Resources Information Resources Recreation Resources

Summer Reading Programs at the Maryland Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD)

Looking for something to do with your summer? Why not spend it reading books of your choice to win fun prizes! Check out details for the Maryland Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD) summer reading program below!

Pick Your Age Group

This year’s summer reading theme is Tails and Tales, so get ready to enjoy tails and tales of all sorts this summer. LBPD has two summer reading programs that pertain to transition-aged youth. No matter which program you belong in, you will be able to tally your points for reading books, attend virtual LBPD activities, earn prizes, and enter raffles for grand prize drawings. 

  • Tweens/Teens Summer Learning: ages 11-17 (final day to earn points is August 6)
  • Adult Summer Reading Program: ages 18 and older (final day to earn points is August 8)

Register and Count Your Points!

Whether you fall into the Teens/Tweens or the adult group, you can register using Beanstack, a completely accessible website where you can track your points, books read, and activities attended.

Click here to register for the Tails and Tales 2021 Summer Reading Program with the Maryland LBPD

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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Accessible Assistive Technology Resources Bridges Blog Educational Resources Employment Resources Independent Living Resources Information Resources Recreation Resources Series: Accessing Visual Information, June 2021

KNFB Reader

The fifth in a five-part series: Accessing Visual Information Series.

We are surrounded by visual information, but it’s not always accessible. This month, the Bridges Helpdesk explores tools that put access to that visual information at your fingertips.

In this fifth installment of the series, we learn about KNFB Reader.

What is KNFB Reader?

KNFB Reader is an app which reads print information aloud to users who have print disabilities. The text can also be read using a Braille display. The app has text detection and tactile feedback to help the user ensure that they are capturing all of the text in the photo. It also features highlighting capabilities for those with low vision or other print disabilities for which pinpointing text would be useful.

How Much does KNFB Reader Cost?

KNFB Reader is available for all Apple products, as well as for Android and Windows 10. It is $99.99. Since KNFB Reader can help individuals read school assignments and important work documents, many universities, employers, and VR agencies have been known to purchase this app for individuals.

KNFB Reader Features

KNFB Reader features a variety of useful options, including:

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

June: Accessing Visual Information Series

Part 1: About Aira

Part 2: Accessing Aira

Part 3: Aira in Action

Part 4: Seeing AI

Part 5: KNFB Reader

Categories
Accessible Assistive Technology Resources Bridges Blog Educational Resources Employment Resources Independent Living Resources Information Resources Recreation Resources Series: Accessing Visual Information, June 2021

Seeing AI

The fourth in a five-part series: Accessing Visual Information Series.

We are surrounded by visual information, but it’s not always accessible. This month, the Bridges Helpdesk explores tools that put access to that visual information at your fingertips.

In this fourth installment of the series, we find out about Seeing AI, a free tool to access visual information that is available only on iOS devices.

What is Seeing AI?

Seeing AI is an artificial intelligence application which can identify text, objects, and colors for people who are blind or low vision. This app is available in 16 languages.

Seeing AI is available for free from the Apple App Store. However, at this time, Seeing AI is not available for use on Android devices.

Short Text Mode

This mode is extremely useful because it recognizes text without requiring the user to take a photograph. Simply open the app, make sure the “short text” mode is selected at the bottom of the screen, and point the camera where you think the text appears. As soon as the application detects text, it will begin reading. Are you too far down the page? No problem. You can move the camera to a different orientation until you get the information from the document that you need. This mode is great for reading mail, school assignments, notes, menus, and receipts.

Other Modes of Seeing AI

Seeing AI has many other modes, including:

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

June: Accessing Visual Information Series

Part 1: About Aira

Part 2: Accessing Aira

Part 3: Aira in Action

Part 4: Seeing AI

Part 5: KNFB Reader

Categories
Accessible Assistive Technology Resources Bridges Blog Educational Resources Employment Resources Independent Living Resources Information Resources Series: Accessing Visual Information, June 2021

Aira in Action

We are surrounded by visual information, but it’s not always accessible. This month, the Bridges Helpdesk explores tools that put access to that visual information at your fingertips.

In this third installment of the series, we join Bridges Helpdesk Program Coordinator Hindley Williams as she takes us through the Aira experience on our YouTube channel.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

June: Accessing Visual Information Series

Part 1: About Aira

Part 2: Accessing Aira

Part 3: Aira in Action

Part 4: Seeing AI

Part 5: KNFB Reader