Orientation and mobility

Orientation and mobility is a term that is used when referring to our ability to find our way or navigate our environment and being mobile with the physical ability to move about safely. Subconsciously we all use our senses of vision, hearing, smell, and kinesthetic reactions to help us find our way whether it is in a familiar environment such as our home or in a new and unfamiliar environment.

Orientation and Mobility Training

People who acquire a sensory loss may become anxious in moving around particularly in environments outside the familiarity of the home.

Orientation and Mobility Instructors can train people in building confidence using their remaining senses and learning techniques and strategies to get themselves around safely with or without a mobility aid. Training is tailored to an individual taking into account their level of vision and existing strategies they have developed.

An orientation and mobility programme can be structured from a starting point of sighted guide and indoor training, including an understanding of spatial awareness and developing a directional sense.  Gradually moving to upper and lower body techniques, supporting the person to build their confidence before developing skills in orienting and using a mobility aid eventually transferring skills to the outdoor environment.

The programme can assit with maximising the benefits of using a mobility aid such as an ID cane or long cane.  Learning techniques in grip, scanning, picking up changes in surfaces or drop-offs such as kerbs and stairs and negotiating the environment safely. An Orientation and Mobility Instructor may also assist a person to learn routes that are regularly used that may also need to be reviewed periodically, particularly if there is a change in a person’s circumstances such as changing jobs or transport routes.