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What You Must Know Before Assessing a Child for Orientation and Mobility Instruction

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Little girl holding her white cane, sitting with her parents.

Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from a recent article posted on the Professional Development section of AFB.org.

There are important differences between how you teach orientation and mobility (O&M) skills to an adult and how you teach them to a child. Effective instruction of children begins with a careful assessment that takes into consideration their unique development and needs. From the very beginning, an instructor must understand these needs to be able to conduct an effective assessment. This excerpt from The Art and Science of Teaching Orientation and Mobility to Persons with Visual Impairments by William Henry Jacobson describes the first steps to undertaking an O&M assessment of a child.

The first general considerations to take into account when assessing a child include the following:

  • What are the child's medical conditions and eye conditions?
  • Is the surrounding assessment environment appropriate for someone with those conditions? In other words, pay attention to light, glare, and noise.
  • Will a parent or other familiar adult be present when working with a young child?
  • Will a member of a student's language group be present when assessing a student from another culture?
  • Does the child have any additional disabilities to take into consideration?
  • Will there potentially need to be collaboration with relevant specialists?
  • Are there any cultural and familial preferences for what the child needs to learn?

To read this article in entirety, please visit the Professional Development section of AFB.org. For more information about O&M assessments for children, including handy checklists and forms, see The Art and Science of Teaching Orientation and Mobility to Persons with Visual Impairments in the AFB Bookstore at www.afb.org/store.

Topics:
Orientation and Mobility
Education
There is currently 1 comment

Re: What You Must Know Before Assessing a Child for Orientation and Mobility Instruction



I really like that you suggested finding out what the family wants. Lately, I'm hearing a disconnect between providers and parents. Separate but equal, in other words, separate training/workshops. I am my child's first teacher and I am the one constant in his life. I am the clearing house for all information. I'm still going to be there after you spend your hour per week with my son. I like to be able to learn and ask questions too! Thank you for including parents in the article.


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