I have three distinctive disabilities:
Blind, Deaf and Ataxia.
I also have three different, really four, identifiers.
I have always, over 20 years, had a white cane. Of which I would use, earlier, occasionally, most for night travel. Later, I would use it more often. Now, it is an always tool, because my vision is fuzzy and seeing things is difficult.
I use ASL as my main mode of communication, have been since 1990. I can still voice like a normal person, yet, what I consider loud, other people cannot understand. So, if I don’t know someone, I will usually not voice. I have scared the crap out of people, they think I can’t talk, when I call out to get someone’s attention!
Until 4 years ago, only those two were the main identifiers, but now, with my CAPOS, ataxia, I have a third. My new walker, which I use more often, is a very visual identifier, people are more helpful (some!) and more respectful (others!).
The walker, “Whiteout” has opened a new perspective for me. I see different reactions from people, from helpfulness to ignorance. From “want my seat” support to “don’t tread on me” attitude. It is a useful tool and I am getting more accustomed to it. I’ve only had it four weeks now.
Yes, the fourth identifier, is nothing! My balance is best during the morning. So, often i would take my kids to school without Whiteout or my white cane. I am incognito. Which is kinda cool, until I fall down because I missed the signpost that I didn’t see while looking around because someone taps me on the shoulder, probably to warn me about the signpost!