Assistive technology offers ‘lifeline’ to white cane users

Cooper raises his cane above his dead at the Optus Stadium
Cooper Chilcott at Optus Stadium in Perth

People have been dressing up their white canes as part of a social media campaign. The event was organised as part of International White Cane Day, with celebrations this year focusing on assistive technology.

Using the hashtag #MyCaneMyWay, clients posted photographs of themselves with their canes.

Cooper Chilcott kicked the campaign off with a photograph at the Optus Stadium in Perth. He’s an ardent West Coast Eagles fan and decorated his cane in blue and orange ribbons and a Josh Kennedy mascot.

Jakub Swider, who’s 7 and has been working with our children’s services has microphelmia, took his cane to the Pinnacles while on a day trip with his family.

We were impressed with the amount of people who took photographs and we’ve shared some of them below.

Growth of assistive technology

The #MyCaneMyWay social media campaign coincides with a new survey highlighting the benefits of assistive technology. Half a million Australians experience sight loss every year.

”There are huge advances in assistive technology making life easier for those who are blind or partially sighted,” explains VisAbility CEO Elizabeth Barnes.

”We’re seeing more technology within everyday devices and the rise of specialist apps. For example, smartphones offer much more than just a phone connection. They allow you to access apps which can help you to bank, shop and operate household appliances.”

Survey highlights positive impact of technology

A survey by Guide Dogs Australia shows how equipment is making day-to-day life easier for those who are blind. 88% of those surveyed said it helped to maintain a connection with others.

For most people, the humble smartphone or tablet was their essential item, with many respondents using GPS maps to assist with orientation and mobility.

One third used apps for those with vision impairment like Seeing Al, Clew and Soundscape.

Lisa crouches down next to her son Leo with her mobile phone
Assistive technology is making life easier for people like Lisa, seen here with her son Leo
Surprisingly nine out of 10 people felt the general public didn’t understand the benefits of technology to people who are blind or have limited sight.

“Demand for Assistive technology is growing because of the global ageing population so we’re seeing more innovative designs coming on the market. It’s exciting to think what the future may hold,” outlines CEO Elizabeth Barnes.

International White Cane Day Walk

VisAbility organised a Ferry to Foreshore Walk to celebrate International White Cane Day. It ended with brunch at a local café with clients smashing up lengths of candy cane with a hammer. The candy cane was donated by local sweet manufacturer Walkers Candy Company.

You can find out more about assistive technology services which we offer at VisAbility. Equipment can help to make your life easier and funding for equipment can be accessed through NDIS.