Have Cane, Will Travel

A year ago, we could not get an orientation and mobility instructor to work with our son. He felt that there was not any progress to be made and wanted to wait until he was more independent. I kept telling him that Eddie was constantly making gains and if he was moving at all, he needed instruction in orientation and mobility. Well, I didn’t stay in that area long enough to wage a battle on this front.

As I have discussed, we ended up moving to another state. I was able to get an orientation and mobility instructor involved that was more than enthusiastic about working with Eddie. She immediately was trying out different canes and helping him feel confident about walking without holding anyone’s hand. While she was not at his school, his aide was exceptionally diligent about always keeping him on the move.

I would visit him at school and hear multiple times, “Cane on the ground,” “What did your cane find?”, “Use your cane.” Within three months, Eddie was striking out on his own. Something he had not been willing to do for three years of being on his feet. It is hard to know if he started walking freely because of the increased instruction, or if it was just because he was ready. Either way, I am still grateful every minute that he has found some footing.

This week, I was walking Eddie to school, and was able to witness him astound me yet again. We were covering the routinely travelled two blocks slowly, but surely. At first, he was walking on his own, but kept veering down the natural slope of the road towards somebody’s yard. Since we were making time that was geologic at best, I grabbed his hand so we’d get to school by lunch.

As we reached the intersection just before the school, I was moving us both forward. Eddie stopped abruptly, and pulled me back to his side. He very clearly stated, “Listen.” Next, he said, “Car.” Sure enough, a car was coming up the road in our precise direction. Imagine that, only a year after being denied orientation and mobility services, he is safely navigating traffic.

I was so angry when he was denied those services, that I decided it was not worth the energy to fight. Honestly, I felt that if he did not want to work with Eddie, he shouldn’t be a part of Eddie’s team. Well, I think Eddie definitely showed him. I can state with certainty that this won’t be the last time I feel like calling someone and saying, “I told you he could do it!!!”