Facts From NLTS2: Orientation and Mobility Skills of Secondary School Students With Visual Impairments (2024)

Orientation and Mobility Training

Orientation has traditionally been defined as the process of using the senses to establish one's position and relationship to other objects in the environment, whereas mobility refers to the capacity, readiness, and ability to move about in the environment (Hill 1986). Orientation and mobility training helps a person with a visual impairment know where he or she is in space and where he or she wants to go (orientation) and how to carry out a plan to get there (mobility). Orientation and mobility services are among the related services provided to eligiblestudents as part of their individual education programs (IEP), with their focus being determined on the basis of an evaluation of the child by an orientation and mobility specialist. Because children exhibit a range of visual functioning, orientation and mobility instruction can encompass a range of content. Wall-Emerson and Corn (2006) found that experts differed regarding essential orientation and mobility skills for students with low vision compared with those for students who are blind.

A key feature of orientation and mobility training is that it takes place in natural environments, both inside and outside the school context (Allison and Sanspree 2006; Pierangelo and Giuliani 2004; Smith and Levack 1996). Mobility specialists typically place students in a real-world context and give them practical and age-appropriateproblems to solve. Younger students may be asked to find their way to and around their school building, whereas older students may be taught to access community services, shop, arrange for and use public transportation, and find their way around their neighborhoods and business areas. Acquiring these kinds of "fundamental and enabling life skill(s)" (Huebner and Wiener 2005, p. 579), "like the acquisition of…academic and social skills, is of great importance to the social and economic independence of blind and visually impaired persons" (U.S. Department of Education 2000, p. 36590).

Facts From NLTS2: Orientation and Mobility Skills of Secondary School Students With Visual Impairments (2024)


What is orientation and mobility skills in visual impairment? ›

Orientation and mobility is a set of skills that allow for a person who is blind or has low vision to independently and safely navigate their way through their environment.

What is mobility training for visually impaired? ›

O&M training seeks to give individuals with visual impairment confidence and skills to move through their environment safely. Orientation refers to an individual's sense of place within their environment. Mobility is the plan to move safely from one place to another.

What is a goal of orientation and mobility instruction? ›

Orientation and mobility training helps a person with a visual impairment know where he or she is in space and where he or she wants to go (orientation) and how to carry out a plan to get there (mobility).

What is the assessment of orientation and mobility skills? ›

An orientation and mobility (O&M) assessment examines a child's ability to travel safely indoors and outdoors, with or without assistance. An O&M instructor, a professional with specialized training in teaching travel skills and concepts such as spatial awareness, will conduct the assessment.

What are the four basic techniques in Orientation and Mobility? ›

independent movement: which includes crawling, rolling, walking, etc. sighted guide: using another person to aid in travel. protective techniques: specific skills which provide added protection in unfamiliar areas. cane skills: use of various cane techniques to clear one's path or to locate objects along the way.

What are the clues in Orientation and Mobility? ›

Orientation & Mobility experts define clues and landmark as, “any familiar object, sound, smell, temperature, tactile or visual clue that is easily recognised, is constant and has a discrete permanent location in the environment that is known to the traveller.” A clue can include the sounds, smells, temperature, ...

How does visual impairment affect mobility? ›

VA impairment is associated with slower walking speeds 7, a greater likelihood of reporting mobility difficulty 6, and an increased risk of developing mobility disability.

What is the need for orientation and mobility training? ›

Orientation and mobility training (O & M) helps a blind or visually impaired child know where he is in space and where he wants to go (orientation). It also helps him be able to carry out a plan to get there (mobility).

How do we manage mobility for people with visual impairment? ›

White canes and walking sticks

If you have a visual impairment, you may use a white cane or stick. There are different types of canes and sticks and they have different uses. Some are designed to help with mobility while others are used to let people know you have a visual impairment.

What are the two goals for orientation? ›

What is goal orientation theory?
  • Mastery approach orientation: Mastering a task hoping to receive positive feedback.
  • Mastery avoidance orientation: Master a task out of fear of receiving negative feedback.
  • Performance approach orientation: Performing a task in front of others to receive positive feedback.
Feb 12, 2024

How long does orientation and mobility training take? ›

Typically, a person with no prior O&M training and little to no useful vision will need three to six months of training to become as independent as their abilities permit. Students who have had previous training can complete the program in three to four weeks.

What is the responsibility of an orientation and mobility specialist? ›

Orientation and Mobility Specialists help people who are blind or visually impaired to develop the skills necessary for independent and safe travel within their homes, workplaces and communities.

What are the 3 elements of a mobility assessment? ›

This article covers the nurse's role and the three components of a thorough mobility assessment. The essential elements of a complete history, review of relevant diagnostic tests and physical assessment are discussed.

Why is orientation and mobility important for the visually impaired? ›

O&M provides people with visual impairments with the mental and physical skills they need to navigate from point A to point B and to move through space efficiently, safely, and independently in familiar and unfamiliar places.

What is the purpose of a mobility assessment? ›

process for determining how much a patient can move, what equipment or aides will be necessary for them to complete a daily task, such as walking or toileting and how much support their caregiver must provide if the patient has limitations.

Which is a method of orientation and mobility that people with vision impairments use? ›

Orientation and mobility training for people with low vision

Orientation and mobility (O&M) training teaches people to use their remaining vision and other senses to get around. Canes and optical aids may also be used.

How does Orientation and Mobility training O & M teach students with visual impairments? ›

An Orientation and Mobility Specialist teaches people who are blind and visually impaired specific skills they need in order to know where they are and how to move independently, safely, efficiently to where they want to be.

What is the definition of orientation and mobility services? ›

What is Orientation and Mobility? Orientation and Mobility is that part of a blind and visually impaired child's education that prepares him/her for more independent travel.

What do orientation and mobility specialist do? ›

A Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS), is a highly trained expert who specializes in working with individuals who are blind, low vision or who have functional visual limitations, and empowers them to achieve their life goals for education, employment, avocation and independence.

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