Orientation and Mobility Assessment (2024)

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.

Some TVIs are certified in O&M, while others have limited expertise and cannot evaluate your child’s O&M needs. If you’re concerned about your child’s ability to move safely and independently without O&M services, voice your worries. Request an O&M evaluation from the education team.

The assessment usually involves interviews and observation to see if your child would benefit from formal O&M instruction. O&M assessments are conducted for children of all ages and ability levels. Including children who are not yet walking, those in wheelchairs, and those who may never travel unassisted. If your child is receiving O&M services as part of their educational program, as included on the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Program (IEP), then at minimum, an O&M assessment should be completed every three years. Most O&M instructors conduct an assessment annually to assist them in making recommendations for appropriate IFSP or IEP goals.

What Happens During the Assessment?

The O&M instructor will assess your child’s grasp of key concepts for navigation based on their age, abilities, and vision. This includes understanding spatial terms like left, right, inside, outside, and awareness of environmental elements like sidewalks and streets. Your child’s understanding of the parts of their body and how they relate to these concepts is also explored. In most instances, you can expect the O&M instructor to:

  • Interview you, the TVI, the general or special education classroom teacher, and your child about travel skills and any concerns you might have. The places you and others would like to see your child learn to travel to and from and where they might wish to go are also discussed. The interview may be conducted in person or via phone or maybe a checklist people are asked to complete.
  • Observe your child in familiar and unfamiliar indoor and outdoor environments to gather information about how they move through the environment using their vision, if present, and other senses.
  • Evaluate any O&M skills previously learned such as protective techniques, the sighted (human) guide technique, trailing, and use of the long cane.

O&M Assessments Go Beyond Movement


The O&M instructor will consider skills beyond moving in the environment if they affect independent travel. Here are just a few examples:

  • Activities of daily living: Can your child store their belongings such as their cane, coat, and money independently? Can your child use money to pay the bus fare or make a purchase at a store?
  • Social skills: How does your child interact with others? Do they know how to ask for assistance? When assistance is offered and it is not needed, does your child know how to decline it appropriately?
  • Planning: What skills does your child have when it comes to planning a route
  • Literacy skills: How does your child make a note of information needed during travel? Does your child use print, braille, or audio recording for shopping lists, bus schedules, or emergency contacts in case they get lost?
  • Use of optical aids and assistive technology: When traveling, does your child use low vision devices to gather information, such as a monocular to see a building number or a street sign, or a magnifier to read a print bus schedule?

After the Assessment

The O&M instructor will share the assessment results with you and other members of the educational team. You may want to ask for a copy of the O&M instructor’s report for your files. It’s important to keep this documentation and other assessment reports. Based on the O&M instructor’s input, your child may start or keep getting O&M lessons. If they don’t need it now, it doesn’t mean they won’t need it later. For this reason, it is important to have your child’s O&M needs assessed periodically.

Orientation and Mobility Assessment (2024)

FAQs

What is an orientation and mobility evaluation? ›

as appropriate. APPENDIX A. Permission for Transportation O&M Assessment/Instruction. The service of Orientation and Mobility (O&M) evaluates and teaches students with visual impairments to travel safely and efficiently throughout familiar and unfamiliar environments–home, school, and community.

What is an O&M assessment? ›

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? ›

  • What is Orientation and Mobility (O&M) ...
  • Orientation to environment. ...
  • Wayfinding and route planning. ...
  • Street crossing. ...
  • Using public transport. ...
  • Using a long cane. ...
  • Obstacle avoidance. ...
  • Spatial awareness.

What does an orientation and mobility specialist do? ›

Orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists teach individuals with visual impairments to travel safely, confidently and independently in their environment. They work with infants, children and adults usually on a one-to-one basis in a home, school, hospital or in the community.

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, ...

What is a mobility assessment? ›

The mobility assessment is a holistic assessment done by an occupational therapist. It will determine if you need adapted facilities, such as a wheelchair or stair lift, in your home to support your independence and wellbeing.

What is the O&M procedure? ›

O&M procedures describe to workers how to use particular equipment to complete their tasks efficiently and safely. Many companies in manufacturing and shipping industries rely upon using heavy and complex machinery which can be quite dangerous.

Who is responsible for O&M? ›

Building/facility owners – Throughout the building's lifecycle, the owners of the building are ultimately responsible for the creation and maintenance of O&M.

What is the purpose of O&M? ›

Operations and Maintenance (O&M) is the performance of day-to-day activities required to maintain Bureau-owned and/or maintained facilities (buildings, grounds, equipment, systems) to the maximum extent possible for the benefit of the facility users.

What are the goals of orientation and mobility? ›

A primary goal of orientation and mobility training is to help each child with visual impairments achieve independent movement to as great a degree as possible. Some children may be preparing to get a dog guide, or learning how to access public transportation to get across town to a job.

What is the difference between orientation and mobility? ›

Orientation vs mobility

Orientation refers to a person's ability to use their senses to know where they are positioned in their environment. Mobility refers to the person's capability and readiness to move in their environment.

How do orientation and mobility specialist assist clients? ›

Orientation training is designed to help such individuals determine their location in space and how to plan travel from one point to another. Mobility training involves teaching visually impaired persons to move safely from one place to another, which often requires the use of a mobility device, such as a long cane.

Is there a shortage of orientation and mobility specialists? ›

There has been a national shortage of orientation and mobility specialists for several years. Individuals willing to relocate generally have little difficulty in finding employment.

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 O&M certification? ›

The Orientation & Mobility (O&M) program prepares specialists to teach independent travel skills and concepts to infants, children, and adults who are blind or visually impaired.

What is the meaning of orientation and mobility? ›

Orientation refers to a person's ability to use their senses to know where they are positioned in their environment. Mobility refers to the person's capability and readiness to move in their environment.

What is a mobility evaluation? ›

A physical assessment targeting the patient's specific condition(s) and functional limitations that are causing the patient's mobility to be impaired, including: Weight and Height.

What is orientation evaluation? ›

Orientation evaluation is a process of assessing the effectiveness and impact of your new employee induction program. It can help you identify strengths and weaknesses, improve employee retention and engagement, and align your orientation goals with your business objectives.

What is the goal of orientation and mobility? ›

A primary goal of orientation and mobility training is to help each child with visual impairments achieve independent movement to as great a degree as possible. Some children may be preparing to get a dog guide, or learning how to access public transportation to get across town to a job.

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