Meet Abdul and Muhammad, two skateboarders with low vision.

April 01, 2022

At Guide Dogs NSW/ACT we love hearing stories about our Clients’ passions and hobbies. Recently two of our younger Clients, Abdul and his brother Muhammad, were featured in an ABC News story where they talked about their passion for skateboarding, and how they’re using some of the skills that they’re learning through Orientation and Mobility to help them reach their goal of competing in competitive skateboarding.

“When I started working with the boys in Orientation and Mobility training they already had an interest in skateboarding, being able to coast little runs on paved areas around their house,” says Alan, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Orientation and Mobility Specialist.

“With me the boys learnt long cane skills to support basic mobility, for example, walking from their home to the local shops, and more complex applications such as crossing roads, catching public transport and use of electronic mobility aids to interpret the environment around them.”

“When both boys were competent at using the long cane to identify obstacles and drop offs I made contact with Canberra Skateboarding Association to discuss possibility of supporting the boys’ inclusion, access and participation in Canberra skateboarding community. I found overseas examples of skateboarders using a long cane to support skateboarding and was interested to find a local low vision skateboarder to mentor the Abdul and Muhammad. Unfortunately no-one knew of any low vision skateboarders in Australia but the clinic organisers, Tony and Woody, were open to supporting and including our low vision Clients in their regular programs.”

“The boys’ and their family were definitely interested. In Orientation and Mobility training I provided an opportunity for exploration of the local skatepark using long cane and miniguide. It’s great to see both boys are now happily participating in skateboarding recreation programs.”

Abdul says that the long cane training he learned with Alan is helping him with his skateboarding. “The key idea is that I use my cane to kind of feel around a little bit, like that the surface is and how high the ramp is – then I adjust accordingly,” says Abdul.

Access the full interview via video, audio or web.

Thank you to Alan for sharing this incredible story which highlights the importance of service and skill building to real-world impact that enables our Clients to actively participate in their communities and pursue their passions!

Learn more about our Orientation and Mobility services.


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