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
Students who are blind or visually impaired and will be independent travelers will need to learn strategies for accessing transportation, planning a route, and traveling.
Being a Non-Driver
Most students who are visually impaired will not have enough vision to be a driver. These students will need to acquire skills in seeking out and arranging for their transportation needs as well as coping with the reality of not being able to be a driver. To help students learn skills needed to be a non-driver, encourage the student to:
Students will need to learn various ways in which they can access transportation in their area. They should also be familiarized with ways people in other cities are able to access transportation. Encourage the student to:
Gather Information on Low Vision & Bioptic Driving
Some states allow people with low vision to use bioptic devices for driving, while in other states it is illegal. The student will need to first determine whether they meet the unaided and aided visual requirements of the state in order to pursue driving with low vision. If the student is a potential candidate for using bioptics for driving, they will need to learn to:
Gather Information on Budgeting for Transportation
Transportation is expensive whether you provide your own transportation or use public transportation. To prepare the student for budgeting for transportation, have the student:
Create & Follow Routes & Directions
Anyone who plans to travel needs to understand where they want to go. This is no different for a person who is blind or visually impaired. The Orientation & Mobility specialist will work specifically with students on how to create and follow routes and directions. As part of this training, the student should learn how to:
Problem Solve as it Relates to Travel
Everyone encounters problems with travel from time to time. Students need to plan for such problems and problem solve ahead of time as to how to handle the problems in order to be prepared. Have the student:
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