MUSKGOEE, Okla. –Students and faculty from Oklahoma School for the Blind are gearing up for National White Cane Safety Day on Tuesday, October 11.
They have planned a free educational program from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Arrowhead Mall, 501 North Main Street in Muskogee. All activities will take place at the west end of the mall between the food court and Dillard’s.
“White Cane Safety Day gives OSB students a chance to demonstrate their white cane travel skills, to meet and educate new people about blindness and to celebrate the many accomplishments of people with vision impairments,” OSB Superintendent Rita Echelle said.
Fifteen exhibitors are expected to participate, including Oklahoma Parents Center, National Federation of the Blind and Azalea Council of the Blind.
The OSB jazz band will perform in concert at 2:00 p.m.
OSB’s White Cane Day activities are sponsored by the school and their Parent Teacher Organization to recognize the connection between effective cane use and independence and inform the community about services offered by OSB to students with visual disabilities across the state.
The School for the Blind is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
DRS’ public service announcement about white cane safety and applicable laws is currently airing on Oklahoma TV and radio stations. http://www.okdrs.gov/psa/white-cane
The first white cane laws were drafted around the time that National White Cane Safety Day was established by presidential proclamation in 1964. Today, similar laws exist in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia.
Under Oklahoma law, only blind people may carry white canes with or without red tips, which are universally recognized as mobility aids for people with vision impairments.
Oklahoma law requires drivers to completely stop their vehicles 15 feet away from pedestrians who are visually impaired and identified by their use of white canes or dog guides. People who violate this law are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to three months or $100 fine or both.
Approximately 3.3 percent of the non-institutionalized population or 124,400 Oklahomans have vision difficulties and may be potential white cane or dog guide users.
Legal blindness occurs when vision is 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, or the visual field is restricted to 20 degrees or less.
For more information about the Oklahoma School for the Blind or National White Cane Safety Day, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 877-229-7136 extension 8231.
The Oklahoma School for the Blind is the statewide resource for the education of blind and visually impaired students. OSB has maintained 100 percent graduation rate for six years. Residential and commuter students meet all state-mandated education requirements and receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility, optimum use of low vision, adaptive equipment technology and tactile graphic skills not readily available at other public schools in the state. OSB also provides thousands of hours of free services each year for students attending local public schools, their families and local school staff.