What is Orientation and Mobility?
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is specific to those with visual impairments whether one is blind or has low vision and refers to their ability to move throughout various environments consciously, purposefully, safely and with directed movement. Orientation is a person’s understanding and knowledge of their environmental position, the location of environmental objects, and of other people in the environment. Mobility is the physical act of moving through or traveling to an environment in a safe, efficient, and purposeful manner. Therefore, O&M is a person’s ability to know where they are, where they want to go; and their ability to physically execute their travel plans safely and in the most efficient way. What is an Orientaion and Mobility Specialist?
An orientation and mobility specialist is a professional that instructs individuals with visual impairments, children and or adults, to travel safely; effectively, and consciously throughout any desired environment using their remaining senses.
To become an orientation and mobility specialist, one must obtain either a graduate level certification or master’s degree in orientation and mobility. An orientation and mobility specialist utilizing the COMS (Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist) professional designation has received their professional certification through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP) and has pledged to adbide by all the standards of acceptable behaviors outlined in the ACVREP Code of Ethics.
An orientation and mobility specialist recognizes that movement is a significant part of one’s ability to gain and or maintain independence and is necessary for individuals to realize their full potential.