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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hudson and Prescott School Districts Celebrate White Cane Day in St. Paul Thursday

White Cane Day is nationally recognized to help raise awareness and celebrate the independence of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Students with visual impairments from Hudson and Prescott School Districts in Wisconsin will join together with other students through music and dance to inform the community about the White Cane Law.  

This interactive and informative event is being held at the St. Paul City Hall, Thursday, October 15 at 11:30AM.  Thursday’s event will highlight Hudson and Prescott School District’s visually impaired students as they are joined by the Prescott High School Band and Flag Team, the Hudson Raidaires, and Prescott Dance Team.

Minnesota and Wisconsin have state statutes that require motor vehicles to stop and yield to pedestrians with visual impairments who are using a long white cane or a service animal.

Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Micaela Smith, had this to say about her work, “When traveling in all areas of the cities with my students they are learning to use auditory skills, knowledge of traffic laws, their long white canes, and residual vision to successfully travel independently. These important skills support their entrance into the workforce and living independently. Despite our work, it is surprising to experience drivers who are not aware of or ignore the White Cane Law. By not yielding to blind and visually impaired pedestrians, drivers are creating potentially dangerous situations.”

It is for this reason that Micaela began planning an event to help raise awareness. Of particular importance was the need to educate the public in high traffic areas, give her students a wonderful self-advocacy experience, and thank local governments for their support. This is the reason behind holding the event at the St. Paul City Hall.

Micaela describes people with visual impairments as a low incidence group, “Many people with low vision blend into the crowds and may not even be recognized as having low vision. Bringing awareness to persons with visual impairments and their abilities allows us to honor the contributions they add in our predominately sighted world.”

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