[AI] additional thoughts on mobility

Jean Parker radioforever at gmail.com
Mon Sep 27 08:54:32 EDT 2010

If you take someone's arm to cross a road for example, you are agreeing that for whatever reason, vision is needed to do the task.  Having made that decision then, you have chosen to rely on another's judgment for both of your safety.  This is a tricky thing because on one hand we are saying we want someone's help but it is vital that we remain in control of our own self as much as possible.  If I am using my cane properly and I step in a whole that's my responsibility.  If we are using a cane correctly it's not fair to make someone else responsible for the whereabouts of our feet. You are correct that we can not endanger someone else's life due to our own neglegence or inattentiveness.  But at the same time I say that, the two times when I have come the closest to being hit by a vehicle were both with sighted people.  So ultimately, we have to take responsibility for ourselves.

The "sighted guide" technique of walking with a sighted person has another aspect besides giving us the ability to disengage from that person should it become necessary.  If you walk with a person taking their arm, the sighted person is a half step before you.  This way you get all sorts of indications about turns, steps, doorways etc.  You can easily respond to the subtle signals given by the guide in this way clearing the way for meaningful conversation if desired rather than the all-to-often well-meant but unnecessary verbalization of the obvious which is so often the case when walking with the sighted.  The reality of these situations also is that the decisions and actions surrounding them take place in an instant without the luxury of time for contemplation and philosophical debate!


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