White Cane Week – White Cane Etiquette

Here are some things to keep in mind when interacting with someone who is using a white cane.

Smiling Woman walking with a white cane in a park.  Statue of a Canoe to her right.
Leslie Yee walking with her white cane

Many people can get around safely and independently with a white cane and do not need any assistance. If you would like to offer assistance to someone using a white cane:
1. Please ask if they need help.
2. Listen to how they respond.
3. Do not offer assistance if they do not need it
4. If they would like help, ask how you may be of assistance, and provide help according to what they say.

  • Never grab a person’s white cane while they are using it. The cane helps keep its user safe and independent.
  • The person using the white cane has no or low vision. Please do not assume they have other disabilities—there is no need to speak louder or slower.
  • If you are giving directions to a person with a white cane, please do not say “Over there.” Be more specific, such as behind, in front, to your left, to your right, and respond to any questions they may have.
  • Never move a white cane without asking its user for permission to do so—its owner needs to know where it is and will not be able to find it if it gets moved.
  • Do not play with or use a white cane that does not belong to you. If it gets broken, its owner will be stranded.
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