Travelling across open spaces
These are useful techniques for walking across large and small open spaces.
This technique is useful when you want to walk across a large open space. ‘Squaring off’ is when you position or align your body with a specific object in the space, and then use that starting point to walk forwards in a straight line.
The following checklist is a guide to using this technique.
- Place your back against a solid surface making sure your heels, bottom, back and shoulders are all placed against the surface. Avoid squaring off against a door, as this may be opened whilst you are against it.
- Ideally, use either upper or lower body protection while you walk across the open space.
- At times you may need to align the side of your body or the back of your legs with an object before walking across the open space.
The image below shows the 'squaring off' technique:
Taking a line
The ‘taking a line’ technique is used when you reach an open space, while trailing, such as a doorway.
The following checklist is a guide to the ‘taking a line’ technique and used in conjunction with trailing.
- When your trailing hand reaches an opening, stop and move your hand back onto the surface you were trailing.
- Gently bring your trailing arm forward and as you walk forward extend the palm of your hand to locate the opposite surface.
The images below show the following 'taking a line' techniques:
- A Guide Dogs staff member trailing along a surface, applying lower body protection.
- On coming to the end of the surface, a Guide Dogs staff member moves their trailing hand backwards along the surface.
- A Guide Dogs staff member gently bringing their trailing hand/arm forward, with the palm of their trailing hand stretched forward as they start to walk across the open space.
- A Guide Dogs staff member making contact with a low surface using taking a line and lower body protection. Their body and feet are approximately 0.5m away from the object.
This technique is useful when you are crossing an open space. It can also be used as an alternative to lower body protection.
- Join your hands together in front of you by placing one hand in front of the other (do not interlock your fingers).
- Extend both of your arms forward. The best way to describe this action is to imagine you were holding a large ball in front of you, this gives you a slight bend in your elbows which will act as a buffer if you make contact with a surface or object.
The images below show barrier techniques:
- A Guide Dogs staff member extending both arms forward with a slight bend in the elbow. This will act as a buffer on contacting a surface. They are placing their hands on top of each other, but their fingers are not interlocked.
- A Guide Dogs staff member making contact with the back of a chair using barrier technique.