Meet ten-year-old Kodi.

“With my cane, I can go anywhere and do anything!” – Kodi, Client of Guide Dogs

This International White Cane Day (IWCD) on Thursday 15 October 2020, Guide Dogs Australia is highlighting the life-changing transformation a white cane can offer someone with low vision or blindness – especially for our youngest Clients.

The white cane is the mobility tool of choice for the majority of people with low vision or blindness because of its practicality, and the way it can give sensory feedback about the surrounding environment.

A white cane is also an important visual signifier to others in the community that the person has low vision or blindness.

A close-up portrait of Kodi. He has light brown hair and freckles. He's smiling.

Use of a white cane is often one of the first skills our Clients learn as part of orientation and mobility training and, for children, a white cane may be the key to their first experiences of independence and freedom. It is a tool they will count on throughout their life.

“Regardless of your age or level of vision, it’s important to be able to move safely and with confidence through any environment you want to explore,” said Aaron Chia, Chief Executive Officer of Guide Dogs SA/NT.

“This White Cane Day, we’re celebrating the fun, fearless and adventurous spirit of our young Clients and cane users who show every day what it means to live life to the fullest.”

Ten-year-old Kodi walks with his White Cane through a park beside his mum Julie and his Orientation and Mobility Instructor Karyn.

For children with low vision or blindness, like Kodi who lives in Mount Gambier, their first white cane opens up a world of possibilities.

“Kodi got his first white cane when he was three years old,” his mum, Julie, said.

“He was a bit unsure about it until his big brother dubbed the cane ‘Kodi’s magic stick’. It was the perfect name! Kodi’s cane gives him the power to do things he might not otherwise do.”

“Because Kodi was born without vision, he’s had to learn about the world differently. Now he’s ten and growing in confidence with each training session.”

“His Orientation and Mobility Instructor, Karyn, works side-by-side with Kodi to develop the skills he’ll need to be safe and independent as he makes his way through life,” Julie said.

Kodi and Karyn are feeling the shape of a large ant sculpture in a park.

It’s estimated there are over 575,000 people who have low vision or blindness in Australia. While 70 per cent of those are over the age of 65, current estimates suggest one in every 2,500 children born in Australia will be diagnosed with a severe loss of vision.

“Around 60% of our Clients use a white cane as their primary mobility aid, showing just how important they are in giving people with low vision or blindness the chance to live the life they want,” Mr Chia said.

“We all learn how to interact with the world from the day we are born… With a single white cane, a child with low vision or blindness can find this freedom too.”

This International White Cane Day, join us on social media to share your #ICaneDoIt stories and help us celebrate how a white cane can make a world of difference for our Clients and their families.

Ten-year-old Kodi and his mum Julie are standing in a park smiling.