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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

O&M Training: Is one harder than the other?

What is the major difference in O&M training for someone who was born blind and someone who over a period of time or suddenly loses their vision?

thank you,


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Re:O&M Training: Is one harder than the other?

I was born with low vision, so I don't know any different. But, I did not receive some of the special education which I should have received as a child, so I am having to learn certain things now, as an adult. For instance, I never used a cane for mobility, but when I got to college, I realized that I couldn't get around comfortably on my own. But, since I got cane training and have been working with an orientation & mobility instructor, things are much easier for me now; I'm learning adaptive strategies that I need to live and will continue the learning for the rest of my life.

Re:O&M Training: Is one harder than the other?

I agree with Run2Poles. A person who previously had sight usually has visually memory, so can more easily understand certain concepts. For example, an adult who lost their vision knows the difference between a 4 way intersection and a 3 way intersection, and they know that cars drive on the right hand side of the road. someone who was born blind would have to be taught.

As well, some concepts which may seem obvious to someone who had vision previously may need to be taught to someone who has never seen. For example, both elevators and escalators move people from one floor to another. However, when you get off an elevator, you are directly above where you got into it. When you get off an escalator, you are farther along. I've had that happen when I was working with kids before.

Re:O&M Training: Is one harder than the other?

I wouldn't say one is harder than the other but there are definatly some differences. Someone who is born with a visual impairment learns the skills from the beginning and learns more as they develop and become ready for more. The person will know nothing different. A person who looses their sight has to adapt to new strategies and rely on senses that they did not have to before. On the other hand someone who has lost their vision has a visual memory of what things look like so they have something to relate to. A person bprn blind does not have that advantage and it may be harder to grasp visual concepts.
Does that help?

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