The Office for the Blind provides Orientation and Mobility Services through certified orientation and mobility specialists. With the proper training, individuals with visual disabilities learn the skills necessary to travel safely, efficiently and independently in all types of environments.
Orientation and Mobility Services involves understanding and implementing the physical and mental processes necessary to travel safely and independently within one’s environment. Training focuses on assisting a blind or low-vision individual to know where they are and how to identify where they want to go. The training specifically helps the individual develop a plan on how he or she will travel safely and efficiently through the environment from one destination to another.
Orientation and mobility instruction may consist of intensive training by a center based or a comprehensive on-site training program by an itinerate instructor from a field office. The overall training experience is tailored to meet the person’s individualized needs. The physical skills such as human guide, protective skills and cane skills are typically taught first to develop automatic movement. Secondly, the training concentrates on the mental and sensory parts to travel. The components of orientation and mobility instruction may include:
• Assessment and Training of an individual's functional travel vision
• Development of good spatial and environmental concepts – building an understanding of the layout of the environment in which the individual travels
• Instruction in self-protection techniques, human guide techniques, a white cane for independent travel and available public transportation
• Familiarization to specific areas or routes in the individual’s environment
• Sensory training – development of the senses
• Confidence building.
Lessons are taught on a one-to-one basis by an orientation and mobility specialist.
Orientation and Mobility instruction provides an the ultimate freedom of independence. Individuals can acquire the skills of cane travel that they transfer and apply in any of their surroundings. We recognize how important independence in the area of mobility is and the role it plays in the overall professional development of the individuals served. Office for the Blind Orientation and Mobility specialists are held to the standards of acceptable behavior as specified in the Code of Ethics through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.