Special Cane Developed For Young Children With Visual Impairments

A toddler's world can mean non-stop motion, but for young children who are visually impaired, it can mean a world of uncertainty. CBS2's Jessica Moore shows us a gift that's paving the way for progress for children.

Video Transcript

- A toddler's world can mean nonstop motion. But for young children who are visually impaired, it can mean a world of uncertainty and obstacles. And it can be sort of scary, too. CBS 2's Jessica Moore shows us a gift that's paving the way for their progress.

JESSICA MOORE: Jorge Alcantarez is three years old, and the hope is that the device he is holding will change his life. It's a special cane, developed for children between the ages of one and five who are blind or seriously visually impaired.

GRACE AMBROSE-ZAKEN: Safety is everything to learning.

JESSICA MOORE: Grace Ambrose-Zaken, a professor of orientation and mobility at Hunter College, is one of the developers of the toddler cane.

GRACE AMBROSE-ZAKEN: When you feel safe, you build self-confidence, you start just doing your natural exploring, interacting with the world.

JESSICA MOORE: The cane, developed in conjunction with City College, looks deceptively simple. There's a waistband to hold it in place on the toddler, and it's lightweight enough to maneuver easily. Jorge's dad is grateful for this important opportunity being given to his son.

JORGE ALCANTAREZ: I try the best for him. I pray every day.

JESSICA MOORE: The family is currently homeless, and the cane has been donated. They cost $625, but are given free to families in need. About 1,200 toddler canes have been given out so far.

TARA OLSON: It gives the child the opportunity to be independent, to give them freedom.

JESSICA MOORE: Tara Olson is an occupational therapist with the Vision Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She says she sees a lot of promise in young Jorge to master the toddler cane.

TARA OLSON: He needs opportunity for a better life.

JESSICA MOORE: And hopefully with this new cane, the path will be that much easier for this little boy. Jessica Moore, CBS 2 News.