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Citation Information : International Journal of Orientation & Mobility. Volume 6, Issue 1, Pages 5-5, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/ijom-2013-011
License : (CC-BY-NC-ND-4.0)
Published Online: 14-May-2018
Welcome to the sixth volume of the International Journal of Orientation & Mobility. I’ve never been a certified orientation and mobility (O&M) specialist or a peripatologist but for 51 years I have been an observer of O&M professionals and the O&M field.
My first observations were of Bruce Blasch as a student at Western Michigan University. I observed him, under blindfold, walking down the middle of the street. He thought he was on the sidewalk and of course blamed me, as the observer, for not correcting him when he stepped off the curb. From that time on I realised I had a responsibility and a fulltime job to observe and correct him as needed.
Earliest memories of the field were of Don Blasch, Stan Suterko, and Larry Blaha. These men were some of the pioneers and leaders in a new profession. My observations of them were as a working group looking forward asking what next and who will do it? They did this by challenging and encouraging the students and new practitioners who came after them.
The 1964 Class of O&M graduates took the challenge spreading their industriousness and enthusiasm across the country: Bob Crouse to Georgia, Bob La Duke to New York, and Bruce Blasch to Utah. Together they worked in the field of blindness for close to a combined 140 years. They served as O&M practitioners, college professors, researchers, directors of centres for the blind, executive directors of associations of the blind, authors, and most importantly mentors and teachers of the next generation.
I watched Bruce grow from a questioning student to a motivated professional in the field. It started with late night discussions, at kitchen tables, brain storming the next step to advance O&M. In fact during one of these discussions, I went into labor with twins and had to plead my case for a ride to the hospital vs. the seriousness of O&M table talk. To all of you who have read the “Big Red” series, I lived the development of each edition in my home sharing Bruce with Rick Welsh and Bill Wiener for many years. By the third edition we were moving across the country from Georgia to Idaho. Bruce insisted we move close to 60 boxes because the third edition wasn’t completed and valuable information was housed in those boxes. We lowered it down to 30 with the book being published.
I observed O&M mature from a new field into a recognised profession: professional textbook, Division 9 certification, International Mobility Conferences, generic mobility, all groups working with mobility of the blind coming together, and the fourth edition of “Big Red” – in the future.
My final observations are these: Great mentors challenge and encourage great mentees. Orientation and Mobility as a profession is privileged to have each and every one of you. As this generation is ready to pass the torch, I remind you we still have 30 boxes to be awarded to the first caller.