Which environment to choose and what attitude to take during the first hours of training?
There is no universal recipe for managing the first hours of training, but there are some approaches that work better than others. There are also mistakes to be made by wanting to give too much information at a time, the ideal is that the user can find by himself what to do by putting it in the right configurations. Here we put ourselves in a disability-free configuration associated with visual impairment.
The electronic cane asks the person to be active both in the collection of information and in its interpretation and the action that will ensue.
The collection of information depends on the orientation of the unit attached to the cane. It is directly the technique of white cane (its orientation, its scanning) which will determine the quality of the collection of this information. As many as there may be several variants to be safe with its sweep of cane which is only one meter, as the electronic rod commonly carrying 6 meters or 12 meters (if desired) only tolerates the cane technique so-called "strictly academic": hand centered, sweeping only by flexing wrist extension (arms and forearms should be casual but fixed), no wrist rotation (the thumb should always look upwards), sweeping between the width of the wrist shoulders and feet (possibility to reduce the amplitude a little compared to the cane alone), sweeping pace of footsteps (if we sweep faster than the pace, the brain will not have time to analyze the finely enough information, if we are slower we lose protection at ground level), only imperfect synchronization will not be penalized by the device.
Do not try to explain all this in a global way by a deluge of words, the only result will be to cause a headache, a great weariness in the newcomer or worse to steal "I'm not in the army .
A first recommendation is to start with very large spaces, with very few obstacles so that the user can gradually answer all these questions with a minor intervention of the trainer. The job of the trainer is to put him in a good situation, that he goes, according to his prerequisites, to come to decode of himself.
A park, a broad sidewalk clear, a large square with few obstacles but bulky, with very few passersby using a range of 6 meters are good conditions. If there is a possibility of providing a stable auditory cue such as a road, or a source of noise that allows for easy orientation, this will avoid the need for kinesthesia at this stage.
The person, walking quietly and performing scans of the cane, will perceive easily localizable vibrations, even if there is not yet a fine perception of the direction provided by flexion extension of the wrist. Of course we must of course ensure that the only movement of the upper limbs responsible for scanning is the flexion wrist extension, and that the symmetry of the movement is not too bad, it does not take more than one sweep step if it is less or out of sync, it does not matter at this stage. It takes a step above all soft and quiet.
Observe what the person is doing, answer their questions, help them find the answers without providing the solution, let them go wrong, ask them to interpret, do not intervene to avoid harmless shocks such as shoulder rubbing, this makes it possible to become aware of an insufficient deviation in the face of the obstacle.
The objective is to change direction as soon as possible to avoid the obstacle without excessive deviation (one must not go too far from the obstacle). At the end of a certain practice in the place the person must begin to be able to put a name on the obstacles avoided without having touched them.
If the person with some flaws of sweeping, forearm movements during avoidance, or other negligences not be too demanding, one is on the basics of integrating a new perception that initially requires a important cognitive effort, it is normal for other things to drop at this time.
Avoid confronting fine obstacles, people passing by, congested areas, baffling is for later.
On the other hand, encourage the person to use this new information to improve their spatial representation of the place. The apparatus is only an intermediary tool, the essential thing is the construction of the spatial representation that it will allow. Without this construction, the use will not go very far.
Some people will arrive in a few minutes, others may take several sessions, it does not bode well.