In this section of “Going Places” from my Hadley School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Review I want to talk about what I learned about walking and biking.
This lesson brought back memories of my childhood. As a child, one of my favorite things to do was to ride my bike. I found that riding my bike was fast and fun! I did some walking to and from school when I was in middle school; however, my mother was always worried about my safety. She was so worried about my safety because one day I did not return home on time. I walked home with a friend a different way and it took us longer to get home. After that, my mother had me tested for Orientation and Mobility. In the report, it basically said that my mother needed to let me be more independent. She hardly let me walk home on my own and as a result I felt less independent than my peers. This leads me to the first section of the lesson: Advantages and disadvantages of walking and biking. I feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Both walking and biking can be low cost and good for someone’s health. I learned that with correct planning both of these can be enjoyed.
During sixth grade my mom and other adults started talking to me about safety issues, such as coming home from school on time, having phone numbers to call in case I were to get lost, etc. Reflecting back on this, as an adult, these are basic common-sense issues that should be taught to any child early. I feel that if a child wishes to walk or bike somewhere, as long as it’s safe, let the child do it. I feel that If I was exposed to walking and biking earlier, I would have been more confident with my travel skills.
When it comes to trip planning the more you do it the easier it becomes. Start teaching these travel skills early! For example, you can teach landmarks. My mother started teaching me this from a young age. She also taught me compass directions and map reading. Remember you are your child’s best advocate! You may want to request support from an Orientation and Mobility specialist to get help in white cane training and with the examples I mentioned.