[AI] Acquiring mastery of orientation skills

Vamshi. G gvamshiai at gmail.com
Sun May 13 10:09:14 EDT 2018

Dear Rahul,

I am still young in mobility as I've started using the cane only in
the last 3 years.  As you rightly said, I wonder at the orientation
skills of some of my blind friends.  I suppose orientation comes only
with practice.  I follow a model of combination of all the aspects
like cane, using landmarks, bit of orientation, little residual
vision, and support from others.  In familiar locations, you can
always practice to orient well with the environment.  In new
locations, you have to necessarily depend on people around.   If you
want to practice from the gate to your seat, do it a number of times
so that you get used to it.  Otherwise identify landmarks which you
can use.  For example, when I come down on the ramp at my office, I
have to take right at the second wooden pillar which is a projection.
I look for the landmark though I can't orient exactly .  As far as
sighted people's support is concerned, tell them politely that you are
confident on your own.  Once they come to know of your skills, they
will not come in your way.  But if you fumble in their presence, they
will not leave you alone.  Therefore, have a known person during the
initial practice.  Or tell them how much they need to support you.  At
times, some  auto driver leaves me at a place which I can't orient, I
ask the people around to take me only till the main gate from where I
can be on my own.  Finally, as far as getting lost is concerned,its
our right(smile).  The best advice I got from a very experienced blind
friend who is an expert in mobility when I was learning white cane is
that not to get disappointed when we get lost.  It happens with
everyone.  Only thing is to ensure you don't end up facing risk due to
getting lost.

On 5/12/18, Rahul Bajaj <rahul.bajaj10038 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I hope this message finds you well. While I have acquired considerable
> proficiency in the use of the cane, I still have weak orientation skills.
> Basically, I am able to use the cane in familiar settings like my office,
> but require sighted assistance when I need to get to a particular location,
> say from my vehicle.
> In other words, my O and M skills have not reached a stage when I can get
> from my vehicle to, say, the 4th room on the left on the third floor of a
> building that I need to go to. This is on account of my inability to act on
> the instructions that someone might give me, and logistical challenges such
> as using the lift independently. Plus, another concern is dealing with
> offers of assistance from sighted people which are hard to politely reject
> and considerably slow down one's progress. Finally, there's a fear of
> getting lost or going in the wrong direction which can result in the wastage
> of a lot of time. Any thoughts?
> Best,
> Rahul
> Sent from my iPhone
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G. Vamshi
Mobile: +91 9949349497
Skype: gvamshi81


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