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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Abiola’s Story

Abiola, a recent immigrant from Africa, uses her cane to climb the front steps of her home.

Abiola Uses Her Cane to Offset Declining Vision

Abiola is the working mother of three children. She works as a caregiver in downtown Chicago. And has to take two buses to get there from her neighborhood.

Glaucoma is slowly taking her vision. Abiola is from Nigeria, and has only been in the U.S. for five years. Since she has not had any cane training, she has been relying on her diminishing vision to travel to and from work. And, since her vision is worse at night, she limits her travel to daylight hours.

Eleni started working with Abiola in November, accessing her current ability to travel independently, learning her needs, and setting her training goals.

Learning to use a white cane for the first time involves learning a lot of different techniques. There are different ways to use the cane when walking. Perhaps you have seen someone walking with a cane while sweeping it in front of them. And then someone else tapping it first on one side and then on the next. “Constant contact” and “two-point touch” are both valid techniques, with their own pros and cons. The decision on which technique to use can vary by personal preferences and the environment.

One skill that Abiola and Eleni have spent several hours on is ascending and descending stairs. One technique is used for climbing up the stairs and a different technique for going down the stairs. After learning, demonstrating and reviewing these skills during three lessons, Abiola has mastered the skill and is ready to focus on crossing streets and riding public transit.

Her training will continue to cover techniques for crossing streets with stop signs and traffic lights, turning lanes — both right and left, and two and four lanes. And your support will ensure she can get all the training she needs to travel safely as she loses more and more vision.