Overview | Recommended Readings for Children | Common Questions Parents have regarding O&M | Free White Cane Application | Games that Enhance the O&M Experience for Children | Glossary of most common terms | Recommended readings for parents | National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
Glossary of Most Common Terms
Arc: How wide the tip of the cane moves back and forth. The arc of the cane needs to be as wide as one’s shoulders.
Braille: A system of raised dots that form a cell, which represents letters, contractions, or entire words.
Braille Compass: A tactual compass containing a raised arrow signifying north and Braille letters for south, east, and west.
Braille Notetaking Device: An electronic device that is much like a computer without a screen. It does most everything that regular computers do such as holds files, gives access to the Internet and keeps a calendar and address book. I’m writing this on a Braille notetaking device. One can use this device for working on term papers, letters, taking notes in class, et cetera. It also has a clock, calendar, calculator, dictionary, and more.
Braille Paper: Braille paper is a little thicker than regular paper so a person is able to feel the Braille dots. Braille paper is about as thick as a greeting card. Regular paper is not thick enough to hold the Braille dots firm.
Braille watch: A watch that allows the crystal lid to be raised so an individual can feel the hands and be able to tell time. The Braille watch has raised dots, which represent the numbers.
Cane: A long, white tool that enables blind individuals to maneuver from one place to another. In most cases, the cane will extend from the floor to one’s chin.
Cane travel: A term used for maneuvering from one location to another by using a long, white cane. AKA: Orientation and Mobility.
Cardinal Directions: North, south, east and west.
Carbon Fiber: The long, white cane is made of carbon fiber.
Descriptive videos: A regular movie video which has a narrator describing what is going on when no one is talking in the film. The narrator may also describe objects or actions.
Discovery Method: A method used in Orientation and Mobility that uses problem-solving skills, generalizing, discovery, and prior experiences in order to travel from one place to another. Discovery Method allows an individual to make mistakes, discover, generalize, and problem- solve providing valuable opportunity that contributes to the development of independence.
Disoriented: Not to be confused with ‘lost’, disoriented is when a traveler is a little confused about their whereabouts within a particular environment, but are knowledgeable of the general location in which they are presently.
Drop off: The edge of a sidewalk or a step; the section on the ground, floor, or sidewalk that is lower than the one a person is actually on. A curb or step downward.
Extended Grip: This is one way to hold the long, white cane when walking forward. The cane is extended outward from one’s belly button. The arm is relaxed and bent at the elbow. The hand is upward as it holds the cane.
Folding Cane: This is a cane that has joints and is able to fold up. A strong rubber band runs through the center of the cane and keeps it together.
Glide: Moving the cane from side to side without lifting it off the ground. This technique can help detect slight texture changes or small drop-offs while traveling.
Goalball: A game that was designed in 1946 for individuals who were blind. It is now a regular event at the Paralympics! Teams throw or roll balls that have bells inside them to score a goal on the other side of the court. All the players have to wear blindfolds or sleep shades; therefore, everyone must focus on their hearing. Of course, the spectators, the people watching, have to stay very, very quiet so the players can hear the balls. The players have to use their whole body to stop the ball from scoring a goal. There are only three players for each team on the court at a time, so a player may have to actually lie down to stop a ball from rolling into the goal.
Human guide: (also called sighted guide) When an individual who is blind or has low vision takes the arm of another person to assist with walking from one place to another. The person who is blind walks about a half a step behind the guide. Usually this technique is used when the terrain is uneven or congested. Sometimes this technique is used by blind people when they are in a hurry, are unsteady on their feet, or have an emergency.
Jaws Access with Speech (JAWS): JAWS is an acronym for Job Access with Speech. A computer program that provides speech by saying the word or letter typed in by the user. JAWS will also read aloud what is on the screen.
Kick the Cane Game: See “Walking in Step”.
Landmark: An object that usually does not move and is used to identify a particular location. The landmark can be as big as a building on the corner or as small as a specific uneven crack in a sidewalk.
Long, White Cane: A tool used for Orientation and Mobility by blind and low-vision individuals.
Metal Cane Tip: This tip is found on the bottom end of a long, white cane and offers auditory feedback to aid in Orientation and Mobility.
National Federation of the Blind (NFB): Founded in 1940, NFB is the nation’s largest organization of individuals who are blind. For more information contact:
National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
National Orientation and Mobility Certification: Emphasizes non-visual instruction and Structured Discovery Orientation and Mobility. For more information contact:
National Blindness Professional Certification Board
101 S. Trenton St.
Ruston, LA 71270
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC): A national membership organization of parents and friends of blind children founded in 1983. This organization was established to provide vital support, encouragement, and information. Over 3,000 members in all 50 states. For more information contact:
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Orientation and Mobility (O&M): A term used for walking or maneuvering from one location to another by using a long, white cane. AKA: cane travel.
Orientation and Mobility instructor: An person who specializes in teaching blind and/or visually impaired individuals how to use the long, white cane.
Pencil Grip: A method of using the long, white cane in crowded areas or when looking for something small. The cane is held like a giant pencil and one is writing on the ground. The cane is still arched back and forth as wide as one’s shoulders as the person travels through the congested area.
Perkins Brailler: A tool used to write Braille. It looks much like a typewriter but with fewer keys.
Print-Braille book: (also called twin vision books) A children’s book that has pictures and a clear sheet of plastic over each page, which has the story written in Braille; thus, a blind person can read this story in Braille, and a sighted person can follow the printed words and see the pictures.
Shoreline: What the traveler does when he or she uses the cane to follow a curb, side of a building, or sidewalk edge by touch. The person still arcs the cane from side to side as wide as the shoulders. Sometimes, the cane is a constant touch to the ground but normally the cane just taps the ground from right to left. One can also shoreline the sound of traffic. (shorelines, shorelining)
Sighted guide: (also called human guide) When an individual who is blind or has low vision takes the arm of a sighted person to assist with walking from one place to another. The person who is blind walks about a half a step behind the sighted person. Usually this technique is used when the terrain is uneven or congested. Sometimes this technique is used by blind people when they are in a hurry, are unsteady on their feet, or have an emergency.
Slate: Two flat metal objects used with a stylus to write Braille. This resembles a book in which a sheet of paper is placed between the metal sheets, and the stylus is used to punch out dots. These dots represent a letter. One metal sheet has holes in it while the other does not.
Sleep-Shades: A covering to place over one’s eyes that prevents one to use their eyes.
State I.D. Card: A tool used for identification purposes much like a driver’s license is used. State I.D. cards can be obtained at the Department of Motor Vehicles in most states.
Stylus: A small device that has a point on one end. This point is used to punch through a hole in the slate, which creates a bump in the paper to form letters in Braille.
Sun Clues: Sun clues can assist with Orientation and Mobility as it can help one determine cardinal directions.
Teacher of the visually impaired: A teacher who specializes in teaching the alternative techniques of blindness such as Braille, independent living skills, use of the Braille notetaking device, and special technology to students with visual impairments. AKA: Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments or Teacher of Blind Students.
Telescoping Cane: A cane that can be closed up—much line an antenna.
Travel Route: A specific route which one travels from point A to point B such as a particular route from home to school.
Walking-in-step: A technique used for walking with the long, white cane. When the cane tip moves to the right side of the body, the left foot is forward, and when the cane moves to the left side of the body, the right foot is forward. It is almost like ‘kicking’ the cane from side to side.