The Art and Science of Teaching Orientation and Mobility to Persons with Visual Impairment

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VOLUME 6 , ISSUE 1 (April 2013-2014) > List of articles

The Art and Science of Teaching Orientation and Mobility to Persons with Visual Impairment

Michael Gleeson, Ph.D.

Citation Information : International Journal of Orientation & Mobility. Volume 6, Issue 1, Pages 93-94, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/ijom-2013-010

License : (CC-BY-NC-ND-4.0)

Published Online: 16-April-2018

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ABSTRACT

The art and science of teaching O&M to persons with visual impairment (2nd edition) is a unique and essential text for orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists-in-training, O&M specialists, as well as others interested in the methods and techniques used to orientate a person with vision impairment. Dr. Jacobson wrote the first edition in 1993, and this edition appropriately includes an additional five chapters that reflects current technology and updated approaches to O&M training, explained in a way that can be easily understood by many other allied professionals who now work with people who are blind or vision impaired. The text is presented sequentially as if the reader was implementing an O&M training program to an adult. This is an excellent approach as it clearly defines the foundation skills and requirements upon which advanced O&M training is based while, at the same time, successfully explains the necessity for O&M programs to be client-centred - tailored to each individual’s unique needs. The text does not focus on O&M with children apart from Chapter 2 where it includes and discusses an assessment tool for children. The text is presented in four ‘units’ with each unit comprising chapters. There are 12 chapters in total and includes:

Chapter 1: O&M defined; an explanation of what is included in an O&M training program; who O&M programs are for; the role of the O&M specialist; behavioural analysis used to instruct; sequencing and pacing of lessons; and the importance of overlearning O&M concepts.

Chapter 2: Assessment prior to instruction; assessing children, adults, and older adults.

Chapter 3: The way to guide a person with vision impairment; strategies for teaching.

Chapter 4: Teaching self-protection techniques; route patterns; locating lost objects; strategies for teaching.

Chapter 5: Introduction to the long cane; guiding technique with a long cane; diagonal cane technique; considerations when teaching.

Chapter 6: Two-point touch cane technique; modification of the two-point touch technique; long cane use of stairs; familiariation with buildings; and strategies for teaching.

Chapter 7: Basic outdoor O&M; sidewalk travel; street corner familiarisation; developing meaningful lessons; and strategies for teaching.

Chapter 8: Intermediate outdoor O&M; uncontrolled road crossing; tactile models of intersections; crossing a range of intersection types; procedures to correct veering when road crossing; familiarisation to the local suburb; and strategies for teaching.

Chapter 9: Advanced outdoor O&M; travel in a small business district; soliciting assistance from the public; intermediate and advanced travel in business districts and malls; self-familiarisation to shops; and travel in rural areas.

Chapter 10: Particular travel situations and mobility devices (e.g., escalators, elevators, revolving doors, taxi cabs, buses, trains, adverse weather, night travel, other mobility devices such as electronic travel aids, and electronic orientation aids); and strategies for teaching.

Chapter 11: Creative approaches to teaching O&M; student problem-solving procedures; working with multiple students at one time; and administrative details.

Chapter 12: Professional issues; student-specialist relationship; specialists accountability and acknowledgment of risk; O&M code of ethics; Certification and the National (USA) O&M Certification Exam; and sharing of expertise through publishing.

Some of the strengths of this text are that it is succinct and easy to read. Included are photographs and graphics clearly illustrating the O&M techniques described as well as case studies and sidebars some of which include actual conversations with clients. This detail of conversation content would be very useful and reassuring for an O&M specialist who is starting out in their career and beginning to work with clients. Also included are excellent assessment checklists for children and adults. Dr. Jacobson refers to other checklists as well, although not mentioned are other equally effective assessment tools. The text also includes a resources list and a journal article list extending only from 1995 to 2012. Although the text includes content that is relevant to O&M-based university programs offered in other developed countries such as Australia and New Zealand, these resources and articles are largely U.S. based. For the text to be particularly useful to readers in other countries apart from the U.S., reference might have been made to a larger range of texts, resources, and relevant leading journals published in countries such as Australia and the UK.

Importantly, the author does refer to the extension of O&M to include people with sight who have mobility needs such as those with intellectual impairment or brain injury with tips on ways to meet their unique needs. The inclusion of this section is much needed given that O&M training programs have been delivered to people with vision throughout the world for decades.

This textbook is essential reading as part of the university preparation programs for O&M specialists-in-training worldwide. It is also an outstanding resource for allied health professionals working with people with vision impairment. The author should be congratulated for producing a second addition of this thoughtful and insightful text.

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