On September 29, 2017, five students from the FSDB Blind Department went to the local Beach 105.5 FM radio station to talk about White Cane Safety Day. Savannah, Luke, Dwayne, Jonathan, and Addison shared their experiences about orientation and mobility and why this annual national observance on October 15th is important to them.
During the interview, students gave drivers safety tips to follow when they encounter a pedestrian who is visually impaired crossing a street or an intersection. Jennifer Sexton, an FSDB Orientation & Mobility teacher, also spoke about the “Passport to Independence” Scavenger Hunt. This year FSDB wants to include the community in the White Cane Safety Day celebration by partaking in a scavenger hunt. Participants can pick up a passport at Dotz, 251 N. San Marco Avenue, and go to local businesses to find the White Cane Day posters. Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Vinny’s Place, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Hazel’s Hotdog, Dotz, and the St. Johns County Library are a few of the businesses participating in the event. The hunt will end at the St. John’s Public Library in the children’s section where you can receive a small prize when you ask about the White Cane Day celebration.
“White Cane Safety Day represents independence for our students,” said Ms. Sexton. “It is a time for our students to celebrate their orientation and mobility skills and their ability to travel independently on campus, in the community, and in their hometown.” This celebration allows FSDB to educate the community about the White Cane Law and how our students travel independently. Beach 105.5 FM has been an integral part of our community outreach and education.
At the end of their visit, the students explored the radio station and asked Kandi Lowe about her work as a disc jockey.
Listen to and read the transcript for the interview that aired on Friday, October 6th, below.
Kandi: This is Beach 105.5 – hello, I’m Kandi. We have some special guests with us in the studio today. It is the gang from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. So why don’t we go around and you can all tell me your names. Let’s start over here.
Savannah: My name is Savannah.
Luke: My name is Luke.
Dwayne: My name is Dwayne.
Jonathan: My name is Jonathan.
Addison: My name is Addison.
Kandi: A big welcome to Savanah, Luke, Dwayne, Jonathan, and Addy. And it’s White Cane Awareness month so I know that they have some special activities planned. So their leader, Christine is going to tell us all about it. What’s up Christine?
Jennifer: This year FSDB wants to include the community in our White Cane Day celebration. This year we are doing a Passport for Independence. It’s a scavenger hunt to find the White Cane Day poster with tips for drivers about safety tips for the White Cane. The passport can be found at DOTZ, 251 San Marco Avenue. This is a free activity, there are seven businesses that have posters. The last stop is at the St. Johns Public Library, in the childrens section where you can earn a prize. Happy White Cane Day Awareness month.
Kandi: Okay so why don’t you guys tell me what White Cane Day actually is.
Savannah: White Cane Day is a day that we celebrate the white cane which is what we use as travelers to get around.
Jonathan: White Cane Day is basically a day where we use our canes and basically represent how our canes work. And when drivers drive and they see a white cane, that lets them know to stop.
Kandi: Dwayne what is your cane for? Why do you have it?
Dwayne: I have a cane because it helps me get around and means showing what blind people can do. I have the cane for protection from going somewhere – say there’s a ditch in the way, I would feel it with the cane because it’s in front of you.
Addison: Instead of falling
Luke: I use my cane to detect things I can’t detect with echo location, which is ditches, things that are shorter than me I cannot detect with echo location. I could detect with echo location like things are shorter than me if I snap, but I don’t do that very often, so a cane just helps me get around.
Kandi: Okay now explain echo location to me.
Luke: Echo location when I click. [snaps fingers] Soundwaves bounce back and I can hear these. So if it is something about the same size or taller by me I would know.
Kandi: I also know you have some tips for drivers who sees someone with a white cane. Can you tell me about those?
Savannah: Never, when you’re stopping at an intersection, never wave at a visually impaired person using a cane, because they can’t see you waving at them.
Luke: Never stop five feet at a crosswalk.
Kandi: Why don’t you want them to stop five feet from the crosswalk?
Jennifer: They are way, way back there and they are not going to know that they are at the stop sign. So if they’re five feet from that stop sign, it is going to sound like they are parked somewhere behind and you’re not going to know that they’re actually going to want to go thru the intersection.
Dwayne: The drivers have to be patient and wait for the blind person to cross the road.
Jonathan: Always know that if a blind person turns their back to the intersection that means they’re not ready to cross yet.
Addison: You should never honk your horn at a blind person because it might startle them. What if there is another car trying to move? If you honk then you are going to make them think that they have to go.
Jennifer: That’s a very good point.
Kandi: Alright, guys – these are some very great tips for drivers. Is there anything else you want to say before you go?
Everyone: Thank you Beach 105.5!
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is a fully accredited state public school and outreach center available tuition-free to eligible Pre-K and K-12 deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired students. Comprehensive educational services at FSDB are individualized, specific to the unique communication and accessibility needs of each student for independence and lifelong success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To visit the school or to learn more about eligibility for enrollment, contact 1-800-344-3732. For more information, visit www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.