Accelerated O&M Training
The accelerated seven-day residential orientation and mobility (O&M) training empowers people who are blind by providing the skills needed to travel safely using a white cane in a much shorter timeframe than traditional O&M programs. The one-on-one instruction is tailored to the client’s capabilities allowing for individual needs to be met.
The program focuses on many areas of O&M, including:
- Using a white cane
- Utilizing a human guide
- Using orientation skills and cardinal directions (i.e., north, south, east, west) to know where you are, where you want to go and how to get there
- Solving problems along your route, such as barriers, crowds, etc.
- Crossing both narrow and wide streets safely
- Re-orientating yourself
- Shopping, soliciting assistance when needed, and more
Training takes place in a wide variety of environments, such as residential, semi-business, business, city and country settings. The majority of instruction takes place outdoors with the remainder focusing on how to navigate elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks.
Accelerated O&M training is provided free of charge at Leader Dogs for the Blind’s Rochester Hills, Michigan campus to those who are legally blind and at least 16 years of age, regardless of whether or not they plan to eventually train with a guide dog. Travel to and from a client’s home to the Leader Dog campus and accommodations and meals while training are also provided free of charge.
Accreditation and Partnerships
In 2015, the Accelerated O&M Training was accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC) for applying best practices and delivering services that focus on positive outcomes for our clients, and meeting or exceeding industry standards for the administration and service provision.
Leader Dog has partnered with the following agencies to provide O&M services for their clients:
- Center for Sight and Hearing - Rockford, Illinois.
Nonprofit providing vision and/or hearing loss services in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
- Greater Detroit Agency for the Blind and Visually Impaired - Detroit, Michigan.
Serving seven southeast Michigan counties with in-home vision rehabilitation therapy.
- Pennsylvania Association for the Blind - Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
A statewide network of 26 agencies in 32 locations providing support and rehabilitation services in Pennsylvania.