Teaching Orientation & Mobility Skills to Students with Visual Impairments

Instructor: Abigail Cook
Teachers can help students with visual impairments become independent travelers by working on orientation and mobility skills in school. This lesson will explore different strategies to practice these skills in a fun and engaging way.

Orientation and Mobility Skills

Orientation means knowing where you are and where you want to go. This is a basic skill used in traveling, whether you are moving from room to room or from your house to the grocery store. Mobility refers to the ability to move around safely and efficiently. We use mobility skills when we walk down the street without falling or take the bus to and from work.

Most people develop these skills naturally without really thinking through all of the steps that are required. Now imagine traveling around your community with blindness or low vision. Moving safely from one place to another on your own is not the same when you cannot see other people, the sidewalk, cars on the street, or street signs.

Independent Travel

People with vision impairments have the same desire for independence as anyone else. Independent travel enables people to travel when and wherever they want to without relying on other people to take them. This builds self-confidence and improves quality of life. If students learn good orientation and mobility skills in school, they are more likely to be independent adult travelers. Let's look at some ways we can teach orientation and mobility to students with low vision or blindness.

Teaching Orientation and Mobility

This section will define several different skills and give examples of how to practice these skills in school. This is not a comprehensive list, and these ideas will need to be adapted to fit your specific student's strengths and limitations.

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