Enabling the Visually Impaired Individual


29 Nov 2017

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3.2 Independence in Movement:

The most important thing considered as a sense of independence is being able to move freely. When we loss the power to move freely and safely, this is arguable and it is more inflicted by blindness. The training programs like O&M training is a necessary condition for blind and impaired persons to bring them in society and make them interactive with the people around. This will surely help them to move inside and outside the walls easily. By having such exposures they will be less dependent on their family and peers. The remaining sense is sharpening with the help of certain types of sensory training. It helps to develop the coordination between the movements and it improves their sitting and standing postures. By such training and improvements in the physical condition of individual helps them to be accepted by their families and peers in society. (Koestler, 1976)

3.3 Social Integration:

Daily activities are performed through mobility for example going for some grocery shopping, any common place, any of one’s sacred places, to visit some relatives, friends out in town. Inter-personal relations are built through this process and give a chance to individual to interact with other people. Both quality and quantity is enhanced through this and results in the integration in the community. If the individual wants to enhance the social interaction more, he or she can take some transport means and visit their friends and peers out of town and to some far places.

3.4 Self Confidence:

Self-confidence is very helpful in anyone’s personality. When someone is not traveling from places to places, it will decrease their confidence level and they will not be able to interact with people easily. They will hesitate to share their views and ideas open. We observe that people with visual impairment will remain mostly in their houses and live a lonely life. (stone, 1995)They depend mostly on others if they have moved somewhere. But if they have self-confidence they will enjoy the freedom of movement independently and enable to perform all such activities without depending on others. This will increase in number of community participation of such infants.

3.5 Safety of the Individual:

Safety enhances the confidence of the individual but also the people in his surroundings. It will influence them to have such confidence and become an independent person in society. It will correct their gait and postures. This will not only decrease the number of difficulties an infant is having but also to build a self-image in them. Mobility education is very much important, it keep the young people fit and smart. If they are physically fit they will get more hard training programs.

3.6 Comprehensive Rehabilitation:

To move independently in society is the first step to be self-employed. They will get a job or an increase in economic rehabilitation or income generation. It is a big step towards the development of self-confidence of one person and he will not remain in the home forever but also will go out easily. The success of some vocational training programs also enhances the concept, need and demand for an independent travel. It also changes the attitude and thinking level of public towards impairment level. (Jane H. Hill, 1986)

3.7 Mobility and Sports:

Very close relationship exist between mobility and sports. As we have discussed above training in O&M is a first step in promoting sports activities among impaired persons. By participating in games they will enhance the society confidence, they will be aware of the economic conditions and it helps the individual to overcome its fear to move around in society.

4. Mobility Techniques:

To travel safely in relation to the environment, a visually impaired person can use one of the following techniques or a combination thereof:

4.1 Sighted Guide:

When an individual is approaching a narrow space, for example descending and ascending paths or stairs. They want to be helped by holding a chair or either passing through doorways.

4.2 Walking Alone:

This is mostly trailing protective technique. It further includes the trainings of upper and forearm techniques, lower hand and forearm technique, Locating dropped articles. Further you can best use of yours landmark indoors and direct taking.

4.3 Cane Techniques:

This technique includes some pre-cane devices like use of a long cane. It also depends on the type of cane we are using, its quality and how to how to hold a cane also matters a lot.

4.1 Sighted Guide:

The only objective of O&M training is to enjoy the freedom the individuals get in movement. It also focuses on the help of other persons under such situations become essential part. All individuals who are visually impaired person required help in crossing a busy road or if they are moving in such environment in which he or she is not familiar. They mostly find some visuals signs while moving in a crowded place.

Salient Features:

Some important silent features are given below:

  • Travelling with a sighted companion requires a lot of skills.
  • Training programs should be given to both the impaired and sighted person.
  • A sighted person should know if in any situation how he is going to guide the impaired person.
  • Family members are needed to know how to use the sighted-guide techniques.
  • Non -verbal communication skills are developed in between sighted or impaired person.

Basic techniques:

  • The guide should stand next to the visually impaired person and face the same direction as impaired person is facing.
  • Infant should know about the guide standing position and he should tap the shoulder of guide from back.
  • He must be trained to figure out where the elbow of guide is
  • Individual must hold the guide hand above the elbow with slight firm but the grip should be in that way the thumb is out of elbow.
  • Infant should hold the guide elbow close to his hand and body, half step behind the guide with the shoulders directly in line with the guide.
  • He should be either left or right side of the guide depending on which side he or she is feeling comfortable.
  • When moving through some narrow spaces the guide should move his elbow towards the mid line of the back of the individual. And when the narrow spaces are over both should move back to the normal positions.

When the techniques are over, guide should tell him that some changes are going to be occurring now.

For example stop in front of the stairs so the infant is half step behind the guide. Now climb the steps in such a normal ways that impaired person is following behind, shift their weights forward by leaning forward. If there are some kind of railings and banisters up there impaired persons can be made, how to cross them as well. Same procedure should be followed while moving down the streets.

4.1.3 To guide a visually impaired person to sit in a chair, the guide should:

Bring your impaired person close to the chair, and place one of his hands on the back of the chair and tell him that which side is they are facing and in what posture he is sitting.

4.1.4 When approaching a doorway, the guide should:

Some possible steps impaired person should take while moving the doorway is :

  • Guide should tell the impaired person in which way the door opens.
  • Now open the door with his freehand and transfer the handle to the impaired person hand.
  • Impaired person will pulls it open and follow the steps guide is showing to him. Now take hold of the handle that is on the opposite side, pass through the door, and pull it to close it down.

Pre- Cautions:

  • The guide or the sighted person should keep this thing in mind always that the impaired person is watching his footsteps.
  • Impaired persons should not be pulled from their arms, or push back from their behind.
  • Correct approaches should be taken where the steps and curbs are present. If the guide is telling the procedure from sides of stairs then may be the impaired person will get the wrong directions.
  • When there are some holes or dugs around or there is a need of taking a small jump, guide must call it in loud voice and tell about the minor details of width and height of the jump.
  • It is important for guide to tell him before leaving the impaired person at some safer place. It is good that if he left him where there is some standing pole around him, like a wall or chair.
  • Infant person should always remain at the back of guide.
  • When moving through the stairs, impaired person should be at the railing side so he can hold it.
  • A guide should know about the proper steps need to train the impaired persons.
  • Impaired person is visually impaired not hearing impaired so the guide should use his normal tone for speech.

4.2 Walking Alone

Importance: For visually impaired persons, walking alone:

Walking alone helps a lot to impair person, it will make them familiar to the environment. It will protect them from hitting many objects in their way. This practice will enable them to move alone in society, act as an independent person and unaided person. It will surely help them to perform their daily routine activities and personal grooming. This will increase their confidence level and they will be master of their own choice. It will prevent them being a dependent on others. They will walk in the pace of life and started to live and feel like a normal person.

4.3.4 Qualities of a Good Cane

Some qualities that a good cane should have

  • Good conductivity
  • Durability
  • Light weight
  • Low cost,
  • Strength and resilience
  • Cosmetic and elegant appearance
  • Easy availability
  • Easy reparability
  • Meeting the specific length requirements.

4.3.5 Holding the Cane

  • The impaired person should hold the cane in any hand in which he feels comfortable
  • When individual is holding cane, the thumb must be on the top of cane, his forefingers are in extended motion and the second middle finger is curled behind to support the cane
  • All other fingers of hands must be relaxed and the elbow is slightly bent near the body.

4.3.6 Using the Cane

  • Wrist Movement: the cane is moved slowly by extending wrists while the tips of hand touching the ground at every moment of hand.by doing this the arm should not move.
  • Hand Position: the hand that is holding the cane will always remain in line with the body center and in front of the naval of your body.
  • Arc: the tip of cane should touch the ground a little more widely than the width of the impaired person.
  • In-step: by moving one step forward the cane should move in opposite direction i.e. backward. Let’s take an example to understand this phenomenon, if left foot is moved forwards then the cane will move in the right direction. Similarly as the right foot comes along, cane will move to the left direction.
  • Rhythm: the movement of cane should synchronize with the body movements of impaired person. The speed will be the same.

4.3.7 Adaptation of the Cane Technique

The cane techniques can be modified into several other techniques. Modification will make according to the

  • Traffic conditions
  • Surface conditions
  • Rural or urban techniques.

There are following modifications that are advisable as follow:

  • When the impaired person is walking in urban area then he should move in the middle of the pavements to avoid any kind of hazards or harms sometimes found at the corners of the pavements.
  • In busy and crowded areas, the lengths should be reduced and lower the grip by the help of which the impaired person is holding the guide.
  • In some rural areas where pavements are not made properly and rough area is present the lengths can be increased.
  • If the area is muddy, then the length of sweep must be reduced. They will swing the cane to touch the wall, and then they will swing it back to touch the other side. Cane should hit the wall lightly and ground on other side.
  • When person is walking the cane should touch the walls around him.

4.3.9 General Cautions

  • If by any chance the impaired person is interested that he wants to identify the objects that where his cane is located, then at this point the best strategy is to use of his free hand rather than cane.
  • Impaired person should avoid swinging the cane not only on one side because it can be dangerous.
  • In any case if there is any destruction or obstacle located by the cane, that area should be carefully explored by the guide and after carefully examined and satisfaction the next procedure must be take place.
  • It is important to hold the cane in downward direct position and avoid waving in front.
  • If there is any confusion about the position of cane, direction of person or their location, assistance should be provided by the sighted person.
  • The cane impaired person is using must not be used to scare the animals.
  • The cane should be in proper length and that depends on the height of the impaired person.


Jane H. Hill, K. C. (1986). Dynamics of Syncretic Language. mexico: University of Arizona Press, 1986.

Koestler, A. (1976). Life after death. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1976.

stone, L. K. (1995). The Early Americas: History and Culture. BRILL, 2002.


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