Vision loss can be disorienting and frightening. The freedom of purposeful, safe and independent movement is the goal of Orientation & Mobility instruction. An Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialist provides instruction that can help you develop or relearn the skills and concepts you need to travel safely and independently within your home and in the community. O&M instruction is usually conducted on a one-to-one basis, and can take place either in the community where you live and/or work (called “itinerant O&M”) or at a rehabilitation center (called “center-based O&M”). Some of the skills taught are indoor protective techniques, long cane skills, sighted guide, orientation skills, street crossing skills and the use of public transportation.
“Orientation” refers to the ability to know where you are and where you want to go, whether you’re moving from one room to another or walking downtown for a shopping trip.
“Mobility” refers to the ability to move safely, efficiently, and effectively from one place to another, such as being able to walk without tripping or falling, cross streets, and use public transportation.
A Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) typically holds a master’s degree and the certification through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP). They must adhere to a professional Code of Ethics and demonstrate knowledge and teaching skills in a variety of areas.
Whether you are new to O&M instruction, want a refresher, or need to learn a new route, please do not hesitate to call to schedule a training with our O&M Specialist.