The New York Institute For Special Education

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These Are Our Children (1957) » Learning to Travel Alone

Learning to Travel Alone

LEARNING to travel alone is an elective course of training for many of the older blind boys and girls at the Institute.

Four students at a street corner crossing at the directions of a mobility teacher. Caption: A lesson and new experience in traveling alone. Through a realistic program of supervised travel, these students acquire experience and confidence in negotiating the city's streets and conveyances. The school grounds, located at 999 Pelham Parkway in the Bronx, about a quarter of a mile from the Pelham Parkway elevated station on the White Plains Road line, is the point of origin for the practice traveling. The student, equipped with his newly acquired cane, and at first, with a guide at his side, makes his way along Pelham Parkway in the direction of the elevated station, noting the width of the sidewalks, the street intersection .and any other peculiarities or obstacles of the terrain. After familiarizing himself with the approaches to the elevated station and its train platform, he boards a train guided by the sound of the opening doors, and rides for a few stations before making the return trip. This routine is repeated until the student gives evidence of his appreciation of the hazards involved and displays the caution and confidence requisite to traveling alone. Finally, he is permitted to nuke the trip by himself, but unknown to him, his instructor is always close by.

Many of the students who have mastered traveling alone take on a new self-assurance and independence which are often reflected in their thinking and outlook on life. This self-reliance is one of the cardinal objectives in the education of the blind, and throughout its 117 years of service to blind children the Institute has striven to train and prepare them to take their places in society, and to meet Life's problems on their own with a minimum of help from their sigh ted friends.