Orienting Student to Environment
It is critical for individuals with visual impairments to learn to move safely, efficiently and as independently as possible through all environments. Orientation and Mobility Specialists (O&M or COMS) will work directly with the individual to provide alternatives to using sight for safe and independent travel purposes. This section provides information on the different areas of O&M instruction.
By: Carmen Willings
Updated June 9, 2019
It’s essential to teach students who are blind or visually impaired to navigate safely from one location to another. The goal for students is for them to travel independently from any point in the classroom to any other point in the classroom as well as be able to travel from the classroom to significant locations in the school building. Remember, if a student's vision is impaired, they will not be able to observe activities that are available in their environment unless they are shown what is available through guided exploration.
Gathering Information From the Environment
Students should be encouraged to use all their senses to gather information about their environment. Interpreting the information they gain through the student's usable vision, hearing, touch, and smell can help the student establish and maintain their position in space.
Strategies to Encourage Environmental Exploration
Strategies to Develop Environmental Awareness
In the classroom, the student should learn routes, but still, be shown the "whole".
In the community, use tactile, auditory, olfactory, and visual exploration accompanied by meaningful verbal descriptions. This will help the students make sense of the world around them. Outings into the community should be important components of students program )pet stores, grocery stores, airports, restaurants, gas stations, post offices, taxis, office buildings with elevators and escalators, bus rides, bowling alleys, etc.
Develop an age-appropriate arm strengthening program to support physical ability to use a protective technique and teach good protective trailing technique.
Consider having the student use a feather duster to practice trailing walls, fences, railings and play equipment, maintain contact and walk parallel.
Attach interesting items (balloons, braille messages, stickers, etc.) along a familiar trailing surface for the student to locate and to increase motivation for maintaining contact while trailing.
School Campus Orientation
Orient the student to their classroom, playground and school building including any additional classrooms the student will be going to.
Show the student where their cubby or locker will be and walk them around the classroom and school building, pointing out important or helpful landmarks.
Let the student explore the different work stations and areas that they will need to travel to. This would be a good opportunity to tell the student what activities are available in each of the stations and what the rules and expectations are for each of those areas.
Orient to the Playground
It is important to orient or familiarize the student to the playground prior to their first day whenever possible. This can be done by first showing the student any climbing structures and guide them in finding the walls or fences that they can use to trail with a hand (if appropriate). Students who are visually impaired need support from staff during periods of free play on the playground. Make certain that students with visual impairments play and talk with classmates rather than sit on the sidelines. Describe the choices of activities that are available. Support the inclusion of the student in group activities.
Sign up for free membership to access the FREE downloadable handbooks and handouts on the Free Printables page along with access to the Goal Bank pages. Simply click on the Log In | Register link in the navigation bar. If you haven't joined yet, you will be prompted to create a password.
ECC Complete Set Bonus Pages
Purchase the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC Complete Set and immediately unlock the pages within the ECC Complete Set Bonus including bonus printables, interactive sensory stories, interactive matching activities, interactive choice making activities, job task box activities and MORE! This is my way of continuing to support you and say "Thank you!" for choosing to purchase the Complete Set.
TVI's Guide Complete Set Bundle + BONUS Resources
Buy together and get BONUS resources!
The TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC Complete Set includes the following:
The LOTTO Cards Grab and Go Supplement includes 37 theme related unit cards along with activity suggestions that support activities within the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC.
On My Way File Folder Cards
Print and use these cards to represent locations the student may visit that are related to the current thematic unit. Use these with the On My Way File Folder Game outlined in the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC p. 27.
NEW! Access to TVI's Guide Bonus Membership Pages
Bonus pages include tutorials, printables, interactive sensory story downloads, and interactive choice making, matching and visual discrimination computer games (PowerPoint based interactive games), and job task activities.
All products are digital pdf downloads. 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. If you encounter any difficulty, please let me know and I can assist you. Once you purchase the complete set you will have immediate access to the bonus pages!
*Please contact me if you need to purchase using a purchase order. I am happy to help guide you in the process of adding Teaching Students with Visual Impairments as an approved vendor for your school or program or you can visit the product support page for information on using a PO.
Shop More Categories