Letters

White Cane Day

Ed,

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT recently launched our new Cane Do campaign as part of White Cane Day, reminding members of the community what they ‘cane do’ to help people using a white cane navigate public spaces in a safe and independent way.

A recent survey of our clients Australia-wide revealed two thirds of people who use white canes have been grabbed or handled by a member of the public, even though they didn’t ask for help.

By grabbing a person with a white cane by the arm to help them onto public transport or across the road – without their consent or prior knowledge – you can disorient them or break the concentration they are using to follow a path.

We’re reminding well-meaning members of the community that the most simple, effective and helpful thing you can do, is directly ask a person using a white cane if they need assistance before trying to help.

What you ‘Cane Do’

  • Ask the person using a white cane if they would like assistance and if so, how?
  • If you see a person with a white cane, be aware and give them space to navigate
  • Don’t be offended if a person with a white cane declines your offer of help – they may simply be confidently travelling independently or concentrating
  • Alert the person with a white cane if they are in any immediate danger
  • Report all hazards in public spaces to your local council

 

Dale Cleaver
CEO of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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