We all know that mobility first starts with the ability to feel safe. Without the feeling of safety, motor development comes to a vault. Troster and Brambring proved this point long ago.
Taking this idea a step further, what happens when a child finally has the motor development to walk and STILL does not feel safe in their environment?
Then we are looking at repercussions such a lagged O&M skills, a further lack of incidental learning, and dare I say it- learned helplessness. If they are hesitant to move in space, their loving family members may help them by picking them up, thus starting the cycle that they learn the habits we so desperately try to break.
Up to this point, we have had a few options to help our little learners feel confident while traveling. Our trusty Adapted Mobility Devices cane on to the scene not too long ago, as did the idea to give our toddlers long canes.
Both of these options are great for certain types of children. They both also pose the risk that the toddler will A. Throw it down. And B., Lean on the device.
If they throw it down, then it's of no use until it is put back in their hands. When they lean on it, (which is the movement that your body automatically does when you extend your hands out until you can fully walk on your own without any support), then they are off balance.
Luckily for us, a new cane technology is on the horizon! This cane may solve these problems and allow young children with visual impairments to feel safe while they are using their newly acquired skill of walking.
We are so thrilled to have Dr. Grace Ambrose-Zaken presenting on her new invention, Toddler Cane, at the International Orientation and Mobility Online Symposium this year!
The Toddler Cane provides pre-step warning and detection for young walkers. This allows our young walkers to continue to use their hands to tactically explore their worlds, use them for balance when needed, and allows them to hold on to the cane when THEY want to.
Check out this video by Dr. Ambrose-Zaken to get a glimpse about the Toddler Cane.
You can find out more about Dr. Ambrose Zaken's work and the innovative new cane option for toddlers at SafeToddles.com.
How do you think we can start to incorporate this type of cane in to our students' lives? Leave a comment and let us know.