Pop-Up IEP

3. "We think the cane could pose a hazard to other students. We’d like your child to leave it at the door or in the locker."

Why is this statement problematic?

The proper use of the long, white cane will not cause a hazard but can actually prevent hazardous situations from occurring. The cane identifies a child as having a visual impairment so that others can respond appropriately. Like vision, the cane provides preview of what is out in front and enables the child to detect objects, identify drop offs and other changes in elevation, and walk confidently at a normal speed. Furthermore, the cane helps the child develop spatial concepts and environmental awareness. The child must be taught to take personal responsibility for the cane and use it appropriately for safe and independent travel.

Possible Responses for Parents/Advocates

  1. “According to Ellie’s formal orientation and mobility evaluation the cane is a necessary tool for her safe and independent travel. In fact, she is building life-long skills that will enable her to negotiate a variety of environments independently.”
  2. “Jan needs her cane in the same way that a student in a wheelchair needs wheels or a student with myopia needs eyeglasses. She uses it for safe and independent mobility. Not allowing her to use her cane in the halls and classroom will compromise not only her safety but also her understanding of the environment. In addition, her IEP cannot be considered implemented if she is not allowed to use her cane.”
  3. “Jack’s cane is a respectable and necessary tool that enables him to move about safely, independently, and age appropriately. For example, it would be very demeaning and inconvenient if Jack had to wait for someone to ‘take’ him to the bathroom. Jack has been trained in the proper use of his cane and should be expected to use it properly. The O&M Specialist* would be glad to discuss any concerns you have.

*Orientation and Mobility Specialist

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