Museum Refuses to Let Blind 8-Year-Old Use Her Cane

Rant 33

blind girl Yesterday it was the case of the deaf toddler who was forced to change the way he signs his name because the public school he attends thought it too closely resembled someone shooting a gun. Today it's a museum in New England that told a blind 8-year-old girl that she couldn't bring her cane inside

In this latest outrageous example of the mistreatment of children with special needs, the little girl is named Abby. According to her mom Penny's blog, Its A Happy Story, she's blind due to Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). She had 20/20 vision when she was 6, but in the past two years has become legally blind and needs a cane to help her navigate the world. Only the world isn't always so kind as she found out earlier this week when her father took her and her brother to the museum.

In a post titled, "Cane Denied: When a good policy fails," her mom describes how upon entering a local museum (they live in New Hampshire), the person at the front desk told her husband, Chris, they couldn't bring the cane into the museum. Even when he explained that Abby was blind, the woman wouldn't budge and said, "We have had issues with kids in the past."

Stunning, right? In the worst possible way. Shocked and not wanting to disappoint his kids, Chris paid for admission and handed the cane over, but the day was marred.

The museum has since apologized, but as Penny states, "The issue is that it happened and that can never be changed." In retrospect she says she feels like she failed her family for not educating them enough about Abby's rights, and that she would have pushed the issue.

Its a balance to when is the right time to complain and push an issue or keep quiet and stew. This was a time to act. I bet some of you are thinking Chris could have pushed the issue more and that he should have known. If you know Chris you will understand he didn't know. He knew it was rude. He felt it wasn't right. He trusted that the museum can tell his daughter she can't bring her cane in. Its a public place they should know the law. He is right. They should.

Yes they should, and it was neither her nor him who failed -- it was the museum, and it is society all too often. Though it feels like we have come so far in some respects, children with disabilities unfortunately do not always get treated with the respect, dignity, and consideration they should. Hopefully by sharing her story and others like this, people will see that this isn't okay, and that ignorance isn't an excuse for discrimination.

Are you shocked that a museum would do this?


Image via Its a Happy Story

in the news, independence, special needs


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

paren... parentalrights1

Was it because they didn't want things being hit with the cane?

jessi... jessicasmom1

well , the walking stick/ cane is what a blind person uses to walk /see ,,, what is coming to this world ?

Miche... Michelephant

Unfortunately I can understand why they wouldn't want a small child using a cane. Maybe they have had kids using them before who have broken stuff. Museums are generally filled with lots of one of a kind items. It could have been handled better though.

craft... craftycatVT

If the stuff in there is so precious, shouldn't they have it protected enough so that a stray cane wouldn't damage anything?

the4m... the4mutts

Shocked? No. Disapointed and saddened, yes. This world is not an accomidating place. It should be though.

@michelephant- which is worse: a girl using a cane properly to see, and possibly bumping something over,

Or the girl not using the cane, possibly harming herself AND breaking something, and suing the museum?

Maybe museums need to keep their "priceless" items off unstable pedastals, and off the floor. There's no other way she could have hurt anything. If its so valuable & one of a kind, they should protect it properly & secure it so that even a falling adult couldn't harm it.

There is no "see their point" here IMO

Tricia Frye DeGraff

Shocked .. NO ... It saddens me that ignorance is a suitable excuse. Abby is an amazing little girl who will have many challenges, lets hope she doesn't need to deal with cane seperation again!

lee74 lee74

Would they turn a way an elderly person who is shaky and unstable on there feet with a cane..... They wouldn't have been able to get a way with that or with an adult that is blind with a walking stick. They shouldn't be aloud to get away with this. I feel for this family that has to fight a huge parade of stupid people that are ignorant in the law and rights of people. 

nonmember avatar Lilac

Many of the very rare and kept under glass items have pressure sensors that a bump to the base will set of a lock down security alarm and call the police. The museum would have to take the whole system off line or every time she bumped something it would go off and correct me if I am wrong but using the cane to bump or feel where things are is the point of it. I have see many blind people listening to the audio option with a friend or parent as there guild. She could do the same.

Dwight Hebert

Many people are so literal minded that they don't know when a rule should be broken. They use rules to relieve themselves of responsibility to be compassionate and thoughtful.

Doomy234 Doomy234

I can understand this actually. They dont want the possibility of the cane breaking something. And as for a previous comment about her hurting herself, I am sure that the adult accompanying her probably held her hand and led her carefully through the exihibits.

Is it rude and unfair? Yes, but I can completely understand it.

1-10 of 33 comments 1234 Last