What is it you do?

Many people ask, or wonder, what it is I do for a living. Right now,
I'm working on a starting a new career in the southern part of Utah but
what I do is teach blind people to get around effectively and independently
using a long white cane.

I teach a method called Structured Discovery Cane Travel (SDCT). My
former place of work, the PDRIB just released a great Q&A about what
it is I do and what many others are doling. It's a method I fully believe in.

Q: What is the written or working definition of SDCT?

A: In short, Structured Discovery Cane Travel (SDCT) ™ is defined as the consumer-based model of orientation and mobility instruction that is derived from the collective knowledge, experiences, attitudes, and expectations of blind men and women. A full and complete description of the methods and principles that comprise SDCT take months to convey as graduate students or those pursuing an apprenticeship will attest. SDCT is not simply a strategy that can be incorporated into lessons being taught by those conventionally trained because it is a “whole paradigm” and to adopt only specific elements negates its entire premise.

Q: Why such a long cane? If SDCT promotes staying "in-step" and "in-time" but cane tip is beyond stepping area, how is coverage ensured?

A: Walking in-step with the longer, white cane provides for adequate coverage when the person is walking with his/her back straight and effecting a normal gait. Experience has shown that walking at an individual’s natural walking stride while using a short cane all too often results in not enough reaction time to stop before overstepping a drop-off or hitting an obstacle. Hence, the length of the cane allows the person to walk at a normal pace and to have the confidence that he/she will have sufficient reaction time to respond to changes in the environment.

Q: Do SDCT instructors teach pre-cane devices or AMDs?

A: Because the structure of many pre-cane and AMDs serve as a barrier to surroundings, they limit the exposure that blind children have with their environment. With a toddler, we would advocate the integration of an appropriate size cane for general mobility. During play we also promote the use of push toys that can be used out in front of the child. We strongly encourage children to freely move, explore, and to thoroughly engage with their environment and pre-cane and AMDs devices are not conducive to these ends.

Q: Where does low vision fit into SDCT?

A: This question has partially been answered with the responses to Question 10 and 21. When a consumer indicates interest in utilizing low vision devices, he/she would be referred to appropriate sources. The role of the SDCT instructor is primarily to teach students that they can go when and wherever they want to go without fear the they might not be able to see something. Once they have developed true confidence in the cane and nonvisual techniques, then they can use low vision devices at their own discretion.

Q: When is SDCT taught to children?

A: SDCT principles can be used with children regardless of age. Clearly, the skills taught will not be the same for a toddler as they are for an adult just as with traditional training.

Read the full article here: www.pdrib.com

1 comment:

Erin J said...

I wish there was a way you could come up to Moscow, ID to work with my daughter and me. We only have traditionally trained O&M instructors and I've not been happy with our interactions do far, so I've been teaching my 4 year old daughter myself using Joe Cutter's book, the Washington State School for the Blind videos on YouTube and the NFB Early Explorer's program. At some point, though, we need a real person to teach us, and I'd like an instructor who believes blind people can be competent and independent rather than the reverse. I don't know of anyone near here teaching that method, however.