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This is the first of a two-part study that examined the effects of a guide dog as an aid to mobility; both parts are published in this issue of the IJOM. The first part demonstrates the perceived effectiveness of the dog on travel performance, and the second part describes changes to travel habits, as well as advantages and disadvantages of guide dog mobility. In this first part of the study, the travel performance of 50 people who were blind or vision impaired was investigated retrospectively when participants used (a) mobility aids other than a guide dog (i.e., before a dog was acquired) and where applicable, a dog they considered to be (b) a satisfactory and (c) an unsatisfactory mobility aid. Results indicated that travel performance was considered significantly better when using a satisfactory dog compared to pre-guide dog mobility or an unsatisfactory dog. Follow-up tests were conducted to determine whether differences in travel ability before a dog was acquired affected travel performance when using a satisfactory dog. Participants were separated into three groups (poor, moderate and good travellers) based on their perceived travel ability pre-dog. Significant differences in travel performance were found between all three groups before a dog was used, but no differences were seen between the groups when using a satisfactory dog. Further tests indicated that travel performance was significantly better for all three levels of traveller when using a satisfactory dog compared to pre-dog mobility, with less accomplished travellers showing the greatest gains. The use of a dog also appeared to alleviate restrictions to travel caused by some non-visual conditions.

Volume Open
Sujets de la revue:
Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine