What is O&M?
Orientation involves knowing where you are, where you are going, and how to get
there by interpreting information available in your environment. Mobility
means moving safely, gracefully, and comfortably through your environment. These are complementary processes, but they are not the same.
Who Needs O&M Training?
are blind or have a visual impairment are often eligible for O&M services. Some sighted individuals, due to cognitive impairments, benefit from "travel
training" to learn routes that are necessary for them to lead more independent
lives. This is another type of O&M.
Why are O&M skills important to learn? Basically O&M training
promotes safe, efficient, graceful and independent movement through any
environment, indoor and outdoor, familiar and unfamiliar. Independent
travel helps build self-esteem and self confidence as the individual is able to
move freely. Being able to travel freely gives the student more control
over his environment.
How do individuals with visual
impairments travel in the environment?
All people travel
and make movement choices based on objects and events in their surroundings.
In order to do that, information must be gained through the senses about the
characteristics, identity and location of those objects and events. If
vision is impaired, a source of sensory input is missing or otherwise different
from that of a sighted individual. The person with a visual impairments
must rely on other senses and sources of perceptual input to guide them through
movement in the environment. These include listening, touching, walking,
wind, temperature, and odors.
What types of activities are done in O&M?
Depending on the age,
ability, and desires of the individual, activities are planned to assist the O&M
student in navigating in his/her home, school, or community. Concepts
(such as above, behind, forward, parallel, left/right) are introduced and
practiced continually. Sighted guide techniques, walking with the white
case, using a dog-guide and electronic travel aids may be practiced in a typical
For more information please contact
the vision department.