June 10, 2022

What is an ID/Symbol cane?

- Michael Mulligan

a man using a walking cane on the sidewalk

An ID/Symbol cane is a type of white cane used by people who are blind, visually impaired, or have low vision. ID canes are very similar to long white mobility canes but have a few key differences.

  1. Shorter length
  2. Thinner
  3. Lighter
  4. No handle grip
  5. Basic pencil cane tip

What is the purpose of an ID/Symbol cane?

ID/Symbol canes are designed to be held in front of the user when walking as a way of identifying to others that the user has a visual impairment. This type of cane can be particularly helpful in social situations when others may be unaware that the user has a visual impairment. Another benefit of an ID/Symbol cane is when asking for assistance at a store, the workers will have a better understanding of how/why the user needs assistance.

One drawback of an ID/Symbol cane is that, unlike a long white mobility cane, this cane provides little to no mobility benefits such as obstacle detection or detecting drop-offs. However, for someone with a good amount of useable vision or a person using a human guide, this type of cane can be a great option. If unsure of which cane would be the best fit for you or someone you know it is highly recommended that you reach out to an Orientation & Mobility Specialist who can help prescribe the best type of cane to meet your needs.

Future In Sight staff can help guide you to available resources and services that help individuals with vision loss increase independence, safety, and quality of life. To get started today, please contact us at [email protected] or visit Contact Us – Future In Sight!