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Orientation & Mobility Instruction

 What is Orientation and Mobility?

  • A profession specific to blindness and low vision that teaches safe, efficient and effective travel skills to people of all ages.
  • "Orientation" refers to the ability to know where you are and where you want to go.
  • "Mobility" refers to the ability to move safely, efficiently and effectively from one place to another.
  • Orientation and mobility services are provided to blind or visually impaired students by certified orientation and mobility specialists to enable those students to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their environments in home, school and community.
  • O&M services include teaching students the following skills, as needed:
    • Spatial and environmental concepts and use of information received by the senses to establish, maintain or regain orientation and line of travel
    • Use of the long cane or alternative/adaptive mobility device to supplement visual travel skills or as a tool for safely negotiating the environment for students with no available travel vision
    • Understanding and use of remaining vision and distance low vision aids
    • Other concept, techniques and tools.

Orientation and mobility is a lifelong learning process!

 

Who needs Orientation and Mobility Instruction:

  • Any student with a visual impairment should be screened or assessed to determine the need for direct orientation and mobility instruction.
  • Screening should begin with the birth-age 3 population.
  • Blindness is not a prerequisite. Students with low vision often require direct instruction, particularly if he/she has a progressive eye condition or whenever travel is impacted by changes in visual demands such as lighting conditions, complex environments, changes in functional environments, etc.

How does Orientation and Mobility Instruction benefit students?

  • Concrete, authentic experiences in natural settings bring context to life
  • Purposeful movement teaches the brain
  • Safety creates confidence and a sense of well-being
  • Helps prepare students for statewide assessments through experiences with maps, math, social skills, problem solving, time and money concepts, and even science and social studies concepts
  • Students learn to transition between classes without assistance and to navigate spaces within their school
  • Students participate in community-based instruction and field trips with less staff involvement
  • Students are more likely to be prepared for post-secondary education, and they become more employable
  • Students acquire a higher level of independence as they learn how to access transportation options
  • O&M skills open up opportunities for participation in cultural and recreational activities

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