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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gavin’s Pre White Cane skills

Gavin’s 24” white cane is on back order.  We should be getting it in the next few weeks.  Meanwhile, we have been working on skills to get him prepared for the day that he is introduced to it.  It has been a joint effort between his early intervention teacher, his Occupational Therapist and his O&M (Orientation and Mobility instructor).

Getting his little hands ready (strength wise), is key for him to be able to maneuver the cane appropriately, and not just whack his brother over the head.  Building up the thumb opposition strength, is one of the areas we were concentrating on.  Of course, we do this through play.  In the clinic setting with his OT, he loves, and I mean loves jumping on the tire.  It’s great, because he is getting the needed vestibular stimulation (by jumping), but he is also working on hand/finger strength (by tightly gripping the poles).  It is a necessary fine motor skill needed, to be able to sweep the cane from side to side.  Swinging in a swing, and holding the ropes, is also a good way to work on strength.

Another thing we tried is a very small shopping cart.  It’s a mini replica of a real, metal, shopping cart.  The idea behind this is, when he pushes the cart, the cart will bump into a wall, or hit a bump, before he will.  The same thing that his cane will do.  It’s the idea of maneuvering his body behind something.  He also loves the cart.  When we first introduced him to it, he took off!  It’s hard to now keep up with him.  When he bumps into something, he is learning to try to get around it.  He will back up, and try a different direction.  If we are at the park, and the cart goes off the sidewalk, and into the grass, he will try to pull it back, and change direction.  He does get frustrated, as he just wants to charge straight ahead, but he is getting much better.  It’s also a listening lesson for him as well.  He hears the words “stop” “right” “left” “behind” “in front of”, etc.  No, he does not understand them all (especially right/left), but it’s getting him familiar with the words.

Here is a video of him pushing his shopping cart.

This is also another pre cane toy he has, but right now he much rather prefer the basket.  He does play with it, but doesn’t push it around all too much. 


I have a feeling when he does get his cane, he will not want to hold it for too long, or not at all.  That’s just my gut telling me.  He still throws things to the side.  Yes, he is getting much better at placing things in front of him (in a bucket, etc), but newly introduced things, it is still taking him a while to get acclimated.  Of course, I understand this is all going to happen over time, and I am totally ok with that.  We are in no rush, but I am totally on board with introducing the cane early in life.  There are opposing arguments about when a cane should be introduced.  I weigh on the “earlier is better” side for many reasons.

I will do my best to update, and I will also keep the tally over how many times Landon, and the rest of us are whacked!

Kidding.  Maybe.


  1. Jennifer,
    I learn so much from your blog. I pass along all of your articles to the mother of my niece, who is legally blind. Please continue to update, and I hope you consider publishing all of your knowledge from having traveled down a road of your own discovery.
    Much admired,

  2. I love the videos! What a cutie. Finley used her cane at first as a weapon and toy. But now she understands it a bit better. And she named it - that helped. :) One is Rainbow and the other "Princess" They are just an extension of her when we are out. But you are right - she doesn't use it for long - it does tire out their little hands.

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