Competencies of Students with Visual Impairment in using the White Cane in their Learning Environment: a Case Study at Wenchi Senior High in Ghana

Frank Twum, Wisdom Kwadwo Mprah, Anthony Kwaku Edusei, Joseph Ampratwum, Isaac Adu Gyamfi


Purpose: This study investigated the competencies of students with visual impairment at Wenchi Senior High School, Ghana, in familiarising themselves with their learning environment using the cane.

Method: A case study design was adopted for the study. A mixed method approach was utilized in this study. A quantitative approach was used to assess students’ competencies in using the cane while qualitative approach was adopted to probe challenges related to using the cane.

Results: Students had reached higher stages on the Conscious Competence Matrix and were by and large competent in using the white cane in their learning environment.  However, personal and environmental factors were marring their progress. The personal factors included difficulties with fine motor skills and onset of blindness. The external factors were lack of mobility trainers and canes, as well as barriers within the physical environment. There is generally a positive correlation between onset of visual impairment and specific cane skills.

Conclusion and Implications: It is recommended that resource persons devote more time to developing the competencies of students in cane techniques, especially in skills related to identification of obstacles. Modifying the physical environment, as well as providing more canes and additional mobility trainers, will be useful in facilitating the movement of visually impaired students within the school.

Limitations: A major limitation is the lack of objective assessment of residual vision and motor impairment. Residual vision likely played a crucial role during the competency test.


Assistive technology; residual vision; conscious competence matrix

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