LEHI, Utah (ABC4) – Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) hosted their White Cane Day event at the Museum of Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point on Saturday, October 9th.
The USDB Foundation is a nonprofit that supports and educates students who are deaf, blind, or deaf-blind, allowing them to achieve their full academic, social, and career potential.
The school itself provides outreach programs in local schools throughout the entire state of Utah. There are also three USDB campuses located in Ogden, Salt Lake, and Springville.
The theme for 2021’s event is “Curious with Mobility.” Families and community members with students who are blind or visually impaired attended the event. Kids of all ages participated in activities where they could use other sensory means to experience Halloween items like pumpkins.
“Our deaf and blind group had a deaf-blind experience set up in one of the rooms where participants were able to put on some headphones and some blinders to experience the process of going from a pumpkin all the way to a pumpkin cookie,” said Ryan Greene, Director and Principal of USDB Campus Programs.
Parents and kids alike participated in a scavenger hunt that took place throughout the museum. It gave them the opportunity to enjoy some of the other attractions the museum had to offer. The event was a success from the parents’ perspectives.
“Parents really love these events,” Greene said. “It gives an opportunity [for parents] to participate in the community with their students. A lot of the activities that we have are things that both the parents and kids can do together.”
Because of the circumstances their kids face, parents often wonder how accommodating or practical the places they may visit are with respect to their child’s impairment.
“As a parent, if you’ve got a child that is blind or visually impaired or deaf-blind, you really have to kind of think about places you go and be like, ‘Well, can we interact here? Are things set up in a way that makes it okay for my kid to be here?’” Greene said, “And that’s not always the case.”
However, he said that places are becoming more aware and therefore more accommodating to individuals with special needs. Greene says it is one of the main things that bond these parents and families together.
“Our community tends to be a really tightly knit [group],” he said, “We’ve got lots of Facebook groups and parents talk and they have their own advocacy groups to help each other.”