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Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists. This practice report was done by the following graduate students at Northern Illinois University (NIU) under.

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Presentation on theme: "Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists. This practice report was done by the following graduate students at Northern Illinois University (NIU) under."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

2 This practice report was done by the following graduate students at Northern Illinois University (NIU) under the supervision and direction of Dr. William M. Penrod: Deanna Zuchowski Megan Jamie Penrod Eric Briscoe Stephanie Decarlo April Gasper Jennifer Holt Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

3 This was an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved empirical designed study to determine whether other than the traditional white with ruby red tip canes are equally recognized by motorists at intersections. The study was composed of four sighted human participants who were positioned at heavily trafficked intersections and equipped with either a white, black, pink, yellow, black with lighted tip cane and persons traveling through the intersection were questioned when they parked their vehicles as to whether they recognized the user as having a visual disability. The study also included a comprehensive review of all state’s driving laws and their respective driving manuals to determine what protections were offered to cane travelers. Because of the limited number of participants, the authors are submitting the findings and subsequent recommendations as a practice report. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

4 While the literature is extensive on the field of Orientation and Mobility (O&M) in regard to specific cane techniques and mobility skills, little has been written about the actual properties of canes with the exception of Ambrose-Zaken (2005) and Saurburger (2003, 2013). Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

5 Hill & Ponder (1976) asserted that there are three main purposes for the cane; protection, feedback, and identification. While almost any cane will reliably offer protection and preview the area to be traveled above the user’s wrist, not all canes will reliably identify the user as having a visual impairment. These factors are complicated somewhat by the reality that the user may not always wish to be identified as visually impaired. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

6 Indeed, a popular position among some persons who are blind is the notion of benign surreptitiousness i.e., to minimize the possibility of being viewed as being blind, do nothing that will identify yourself as being blind. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

7 Not only does the user want (or in some cases not want) to be identified as a person who is visually impaired, but may also be making a statement of individuality and perhaps pride in personal ability. This has resulted in a significant increase in users choosing other than the traditional white with ruby red tip cane which prompted many of the “White Cane Laws” that many celebrate each year. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

8 In recent years the prevalence of other than the traditional cane, white with ruby red tip, has increased dramatically especially among users who are young. Also, some professionals are advocating the use of particular colored canes to identify the user as “low vision”. However, there are two main considerations with these trends… Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

9 1.There are few legal protections provided to users of other than white canes that are not afforded to the general population. 2.There is not a consensus regarding the color of a cane for persons with low vision. Please note that the author’s are not against a non- white option for users with low vision, but simply stating that this trend has not been universally accepted across the field…perhaps it is time! Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

10 Perspectives Few of us have not known of accidents involving persons who are blind involving automobiles. This begs the question, can we afford fashion preference and individuality statements over the health, safety, and well-being of our learners? Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

11 Noted professionals in the field, Ambrose-Zaken (2005) and Saurburger (2003, 2013) remind us of the seriousness of this discussion. Identity statements and personal preferences aside, the selection of a cane color may have serious consequences. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

12 Saurburger (2003) advises users to err on the side of caution and cross in the crosswalk to aid in their safety because many drivers will not reliably yield to people [sic] who are visually impaired. Saurburger (2013) later asserts that a cane does not have to be white to be effective, but also cautions that only a white cane identifies the user as being blind or having low vision. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

13 Method Four graduate student researchers, who wore sunglasses, light colored sports shirts, and khaki pants, were individually positions at a busy lighted intersection adjacent to a parking lot of a grocery store near NIU’s campus. Each had a different colored cane e.g., a standard white cane with ruby red tip, a black cane, a black cane with lighted tip, a pink cane, and a yellow cane and each were tested for one 45 minute session. The order of cane presentations were randomly chosen. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

14 Method Continued Individuals would stand in “ready position” (cane held diagonally with the tip anchored to the curb and on the surface) Once the light changed, the researchers flagged twice in a vertical motion no more than six inches above the ground. They would not cross. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

15 Method (continued) When cars pulled into the parking lot, they were quickly approached by other graduate student researchers wearing reflective orange vests who identified themselves and requested permission to conduct a brief survey. The researchers had proper identifications, consent forms, and informed the participant of his/her IRB mandated rights. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

16 In essence, the researcher wanted to know if he/she had seen someone carrying a cane at the intersection and if so, 1) what was the color and 2) what disability did it represent? Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

17 Problems! 1.Unseasonable Heat even for July! Although each researcher only stood at the intersection for one 45 minute session before being rotated, the heat index was extreme by mid morning. The PI ensured that there were bottles of cold water available at all times and immediately after rotation the researchers were given a 45 minute break before collecting data. Please remember that these researchers were seasoned advanced O&M course students who had just completed their training…they were used to being outside on lessons, but standing at an intersection in this heat for 45 minutes was uncomfortable! Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

18 Problems! 2. Although the PI had secured permission from a shift store manager to conduct the research several days prior to data collection, the head store manager arrived at about 2:15 PM and observed one of the researchers drinking a bottle of HiVee water that she had secured from the ice chest…unfortunately, this was a Schnuck’s store…even after showing him the case of Schnuck’s water that was purchased that morning and informing him that we had secured permission, he demanded that we cease interviewing and remove ourselves from this property! Luckily, we had completed the first round of interviews and were only partially into the second. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

19 We realized that moving to another location would be problematic tantamount to comparing apples to oranges, we discounted all data collected after the first interview session. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

20 Results Percentages and frequency counts were used to analyze the results of the study. Figure 1 shows the percentage of drivers that observed a cane user at the intersection. Research assistants using a black cane with lighted tip were most frequently observed by drivers. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

21 Figure 1

22 It must be clarified that not all canes researched had equal numbers of respondents and therefore these data should be interpreted with that limitation in mind. All canes tested had 45 minutes in which drivers were interviewed, but unfortunately some time slots had fewer questionnaires completed because of varying vehicular traffic resulting in varying numbers of customers consenting to be interviewed. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

23 Please note that although the black with lighted tip cane earned the highest percentage rate from participants completing questionnaires, there were only four participants that agreed to be interviewed during that time period. See figure 2. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

24 Figure 2

25 Figure 3 shows the percentage of drivers in the study that correctly identified the color of the cane that the pedestrian was using. As shown, the ability to correctly identify a cane was greatest when the pedestrian was using a white cane, followed by the ability to identify a black cane, then pink, yellow, and black with a lighted tip. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

26 Figure 3

27 White Cane Laws All of the fifty states with White Cane laws use “white” in their description of canes. The way in which the canes are described leads to the question of whether or not a person who is visually impaired who chooses to use a cane of another color would be protected under the law. Some Veterans Administration Blind Rehabilitation Centers are reportedly using cane colors other than white to indicate a person with low vision. However, the authors question whether canes of different colors are as easily or quickly recognized by the general public as white canes. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

28 All of the fifty states with White Cane laws use “white” in their description of canes. The way in which the canes are described leads to the question of whether or not a person who is visually impaired who chooses to use a cane of another color would be protected under the law? Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

29 As previously mentioned, some Veterans Administration Blind Rehabilitation Centers are reportedly using cane colors other than white to indicate a person with low vision. However, the authors question whether canes of different colors are as easily or quickly recognized by the general public as white canes, and if the general public would recognize the difference as associated with a person with low vision? Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

30 All of the states with White Cane Laws also include dog guides and were listed in the law as acceptable to receive the right of way at an intersection. Tennessee, Oregon, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Minnesota demand that the dog needs to have a specific leash; either a rigid leash or a leash burnt orange in color for identification. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

31 StatesWhite Cane LawDrivers TestRight of WayWhite CaneGuide Dog AlabamaXXXXX AlaskaXXXXX ArizonaXXXXX ArkansasXXXXX CaliforniaXXXXX ColoradoXXXXX ConnecticutXXXXX DelawareXXXXX FloridaXXXXX GeorgiaXXXXX HawaiiXXXXX IdahoXXXXX IllinoisXXXXX IndianaXXXXX IowaXXXXX KansasXXXXX KentuckyXXXXX LouisianaXXXXX MaineXXXXX MarylandXXXXX MassachusettsXXXXX MichiganXXXXX MinnesotaXXXXX MississippiXXXXX MissouriXXXXX Data collect from each state’s law and drivers manual

32 StatesWhite Cane LawDrivers TestRight of WayWhite CaneGuide Dog MontanaXXXXX NebraskaXXXXX NevadaXXXXX New HampshireXXXXX New JerseyXXXXX New MexicoXXXXX New YorkXXXXX North CarolinaX XX North DakotaXXXXX OhioXXXXX OklahomaXXXXX OregonXXX X PennsylvaniaXXXXX Rhode IslandXXXXX South CarolinaXXXXX South DakotaXXXXX TennesseeXXXXX TexasXXXXX UtahXXXXX VermontXXXXX VirginiaX XX WashingtonXXXXX West VirginiaXXXXX WisconsinXXXXX WyomingX XXX

33 Discussion A major limitation to this study is the small sample size. The authors collected sample sizes for each cane color that were not equal. One cane had only four questionnaires completed while another cane had 20. Percentages alone result in a misrepresentation in the data if not viewed as only one part of the results. Recognizing this flaw, the authors suggest that figure 4 more accurately represents the sample size with an N = 61. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

34 Figure 4

35 Implications for further research would be a larger quantity and the same amount of trials for each cane color to fully grasp the correct percentage of people that accurately describe the cane color and give the cane user the right of way. Data should also be collected at night. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

36 Conclusion With these data in mind, the authors suggest that the prudent COMS … would be well advised to inform adult learners of the risks inherent to the usage of other than white canes with red tips and advise parents of school children of the rationale for insisting that school age children receiving orientation and mobility (O&M) instruction should use white canes for all O&M lessons unless specified and agreed to by the learner's Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. Although none of the researchers are lawyers, we believe that if the IEP team agrees to this stipulation, it as a body is agreeing to accept the risks involved and as such, responsibility is shared. Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

37 References

38 Questions may be addressed to Dr. William M. Penrod, TVI, COMS Associate Professor of Special Education Northern Illinois University Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

39 The End! Cane Color Recognition by passing motorists

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