White Cane Day here

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS -

EACH year on Oc­to­ber 15, Vi­sion Aus­tralia and the blind com­mu­nity celebrate In­ter­na­tional White Cane Day. The white cane is a recog­nised mo­bil­ity aid that in­di­cates the user is blind or has low vi­sion.

What most peo­ple don’t know is that the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who use a white cane have some level of vi­sion, and are not to­tally blind.

We celebrate the pos­i­tive im­pact the white cane has for many peo­ple who are blind or have low vi­sion.

But a misun­der­stand­ing over what a white cane user can and can­not see gives rise to dis­crim­i­na­tion. Vi­sion Aus­tralia con­ducted a sur­vey from June-July 2015.

The re­sults re­vealed that more than half of white cane users re­spond­ing to the sur­vey had ex­pe­ri­enced neg­a­tive com­ments or be­hav­iour while us­ing their white cane in the com­mu­nity.

The ma­jor­ity of white cane users had this ex­pe­ri­ence in a shop, cafe or res­tau­rant. More than half had this ex­pe­ri­ence while on public trans­port.

While our re­search re­veals dis­crim­i­na­tion against white cane users, the ma­jor­ity of the public have a great deal of un­der­stand­ing and re­spect.

We en­cour­age ev­ery­one to celebrate the dif­fer­ence that white canes have made to the blind­ness and low-vi­sion com­mu­nity. MARYANNE DIAMOND, gen­eral man­ager

Vi­sion Aus­tralia

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