By: Carmen Willings
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is a critical area for students with visual impairments as it is essential for the student to learn to move safely and efficiently and as independently as possible through all environments. The O&M will teach the student to move safely and efficiently through their environment.
The O&M may instruct the student in how to get around in special situations (halls, stairs, doorways, curbs, restrooms, restaurants, banks, hotels, pools, parks, etc) and may also instruct the student in special techniques (trailing, "squaring off," protective technique, sighted guide), and dealing with unusual environmental encounters (ice, snow, gratings, escalators, revolving doors, elevators, trains, plains, taxis, etc.).
Although the actual travel skills will be taught by the O&M, the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI) will assist the student by teaching basic concepts, body image, visual efficiency and follow through on instruction by the O&M.
Movement Concepts (go, start, stop, fast, slow, push, pull, scribble, draw, trace, bend, close, open, slide, roll (roll up), fold, hold, insert, place (put), put together, reach, sit, squeeze, turn, take apart, follow.) An understanding of movement concepts are important for following directions as well as in the development of orientation and mobility skills. Modeling these activities and providing fun games to practice these skills is a natural way to develop movement concepts.
Trailing is a technique that most students will use in order to move safely through hallways and through rooms as well as to orient themselves as they travel. It is a way of moving the fingers along a surface. Keep this in mind when displaying students’ projects in the hallway. The O&M will instruct the student on the proper trailing technique which uses the back of the hand to lightly trail along a wall or surface. The student should be encouraged to touch the wall with the back of the hand nearest the wall. The student should lightly/gently touch and use the back of their fingers (knuckles of the index and middle fingers) along the wall while walking.
When a student is using a trailing technique to explore a new room, help them explore the perimeter of the room and then have them investigate the center of the room using a crisscross pattern.
Although the O&M instructor will encourage the student to use a light touch, it is best to place materials at a height that they will not be accidentally ripped or torn. You may also want to consider placing a strong, textured collage at a student’s handrail height to provide motivation for maintaining a trailing technique. This will help the student realizes where the collage is in relation to other activity areas and classrooms. The art teacher may embrace this idea and design permanent three dimensional collages specific to key areas of the building. You may also consider attaching interesting items (balloon, brailled message, sticker, etc.) along familiar trailing surface for the student to locate. These activities will increase a student's motivation for maintaining contact while trailing.
Systematic Search Techniques
Students need to learn how to use a systematic search pattern to locate items that have rolled away or fallen. Teach students to stop and listen as soon as an object falls. Encourage them to try to hear where it struck the floor, rather than automatically reaching for it. Show them how to use their hand to make sweeps left to right. If they can't find it, then so forward or backward.
The O&M may encourage the younger student to use push-toys or other alternative mobility devices (frequently called pre-canes) to help teach the student that something he pushes in front of him can bump into an object first. The student can then identify and/or maneuver around the item. Older students may be instructed in the proper use of the long cane. There are different canes as well as different techniques and the O&M should collaborate with all team members to ensure that everyone working with the student can confidently carry over the skills throughout the day.
The Sunu Band is an inclusive smart-bracelet along with an object tracker that empowers mobility and independence for people who are visually impaired. It uses ultrasonic technology to sense the user’s surroundings and deliver haptic feedback on the users wrist to indicate proximity. It can also provide the time with a discrete vibrational watch feature and can help locate missing objects with the Sunu Tag (a keychain size beacon like device) that can be clipped to any personal object. The Sunu Band helps the user detect and locate obstacles up to 13 feet away, find thresholds or openings to walk through, follow or avoid people in the vicinity with precision and feel what’s around without physical contact.
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings