Orientation and Mobility


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Reduced vision does not affect everyone in the same way. Some people may be able to see detail but have a small visual field so movement is difficult. Others may not see fine detail or be able to identify faces, but have good peripheral vision that helps them to move around safely. Whatever the situation, Orientation & Mobility services can help.

Orientation & Mobility (O&M) services teach people to get around more safely and easily. Orientation is knowing a person’s position in relationship to other people, places or things; knowing where you are and the route to take to get where you want to go. Mobility is about movement. A variety of techniques can be taught to help individual’s improve ease of movement and increase safety of movement.

O&M instruction is provided by Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialists (COMS) who have received intensive training to teach people of all ages to move or travel more easily and safely.

O&M Services might include:

  • use of a long cane
  • visual techniques or optical devices
  • electronic devices or technology to increase safety and independence
  • preparation for those who plan to attend a school to learn to use a dog guide
  • training of family, friends and co-workers so that they can guide or better assist the individual with reduced or no vision

O&M services can take place in any indoor or outdoor location, based on the individual’s needs. Training may be provided to orient a college student to a campus, a pre-school child to the classroom or an adult to a new work site. It might include walking to the corner store or taking a bus to the mall. O&M training may include learning to cross streets safely.

The amount and intensity of Orientation & Mobility training is based on the needs and preferences of each individual. For some it might be as little as a meeting with the O&M specialist to confirm that the individual is safe when traveling. For others it might involve providing family members with training to guide the individual when in the community (i.e., sighted guide). For still others, training might involve weekly lessons for a designated time to learn a to use public transportation systems. As an individual’s goals and/or living situation change, additional training may be wanted or needed.

Getting where you want to go and getting there safely is extremely important. O&M training can assist individuals in doing this, while developing or maintaining their desired level of independence.

For more information about our O&M services, please call (585) 232-1111.