What are the Different Aids for Mobility for the Blind?

Donn Saylor

There are several different types of products that aid mobility for the blind and those with low vision capabilities. The visually impaired often find great success with items such as canes, Braille labels, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and the right accessories for guide dogs. Each of these products aims to help the blind achieve independence and self-empowerment in their daily lives by providing mobility support.

A Braille label maker offers at-home assistance with mobility for the blind.
A Braille label maker offers at-home assistance with mobility for the blind.

Canes are utilized by the vast majority of blind persons to assist in walking. They are lightweight and glide across the ground with ease. The handle of a cane is commonly made of a thick, pliable material, such as non-skid rubber, which provides comfort and curtails slipping. Most canes fold up for easy storage and accessibility as well. Cane tips should be replaced regularly to avoid wear and tear and ensure maximum mobility for the blind.

A seeing-eye dog assists a visually impaired person.
A seeing-eye dog assists a visually impaired person.

A Hoople is a style of cane created by the Royal National College for the Blind in the United Kingdom. While a traditional cane is straight and rigid, a Hoople is shaped like a hoop and is designed to be used in uneven terrain or more rugged outdoor locales. It senses location by providing the user tactile and audio responses and can be employed in a wide variety of conditions, including snow and sand. Hooples are available in several different sizes; they can also be made to order according to a buyer's specifications.

A Braille label maker offers at-home assistance with mobility for the blind. Keeping cabinets and cupboards in order can be tricky, but a label printed in Braille helps the visually impaired find what they need quickly and effortlessly. Not only do labels assist in moving around the house with ease and efficiency, but a Braille label maker is much more affordable than a Braille printer, which can cost thousand of dollars.

Another product that assists in mobility for the blind is a GPS. GPS products specifically made for the blind and visually impaired are available for use with several different types of mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). These tools utilize information transmitted from satellites to help blind people navigate city streets, find specific locations, and point out notable landmarks.

Guide dogs offer a valuable service to the blind community as well. A service dog relies on clear signals from its owner in order to do its job correctly. The right collar, leash, and harness only enhance the dog's navigational skills and make the communication between human and animal that much clearer.

Canes may be utilized by visually impaired people to assist in walking.
Canes may be utilized by visually impaired people to assist in walking.

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