Some visually impaired students in the city now have easier access to a variety of canes. Because of a $1,000 grant from The Lions Club of Grande Prairie, Peace Collaborative Services has been able to purchase 26 canes of various sizes as well as different grips and tips for students across Northwestern Alberta.
Before getting this inventory, if a child outgrew their cane, it could take three weeks for a new one to arrive. Vision Consultant Karen Beatty says having these on hand will eliminate a bit of that stress.
“It’s challenging when you’re trying to support and reinforce orientation and mobility skills with a student with a tool that is not appropriate for them. Having a variety of sizes in my back pocket to pull one out and give it to the student is valuable.”
Beatty currently works with five students in the Grande Prairie area and says these will be beneficial to them. She adds that having the canes on hand also helps the parents out.
“They’ve got a lot to deal with and being able to provide that and figure it out later [is helpful]. I wanted it as an inventory so that we could replace the canes but some parents aren’t in a position to and so we can do that.”
Regional Manager Cheryl Brown says that if it wasn’t for the grant, they would have never been able to purchase this many canes.
“In order to have that means a ton for this area; we would have only been able to have two or three versus 25. When [Karen’s] out and about say in Worsley or in Hines Creek, to be able to have those with her to try it with a student is amazing.”
Beatty says canes need to be the correct size for the individual so that correct posture is maintained.