OCSD Celebrates White Cane AwarenessOCSD Celebrates White Cane Awareness
For the visually impaired, the white cane is an essential tool that gives the ability to achieve a free and independent life; that’s why AnaLeigh Babcock’s White Cane Celebration at Minetto Elementary School meant so much to her.
The National Federation of the Blind celebrates White Cane Awareness Day every year on October 15. Falling on a Saturday this year, Babcock’s class at Oswego City School District celebrated the day before.
Babcock kicked off the celebration leading her peers in a song about canes while the children danced and sang along. Following the fun, the second-grader sat at the front of the class and answered questions that the students had, such as “where do you use your cane?” She also modeled different cane techniques used for specialized purposes, such as walking up or down stairs. In honor of White Cane Awareness Day, the celebration was complete with white powdered doughnuts as a snack.
“It was a good party,” said Babcock. “I’m proud to be a cane user.”
Babcock has a condition called Optic Nerve Atrophy, which causes vision to dim and reduces the field of vision. Her Teacher of the Visually Impaired from CiTi BOCES, Jaclyn Sherwood, said her distance vision is very impacted.
OCSD partners with the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation to allow for specialized services and greater opportunities for students, such as TVI Teachers. Sherwood has worked at CiTi since 2015, and she has been working with Babcock since she was just three years old.
Babcock was not the only student to experience a White Cane Celebration at OCSD, more celebrations were scheduled for the week after the holiday. The school’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower all students. Part of their core values are to ensure equity and create access and opportunity for all. In addition, everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
The National Federation of the Blind offers the following advice when you see someone using a white cane: “Remember that the cane is our tool to safely and independently navigate the environment. There's no need to shout warnings or try to physically steer us so that our canes won't bump into things. Remember that we are using our canes to explore what is around us. If we need any help or direction, we will ask.”