In 2002, Leader Dog began offering our free Accelerated Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Training program for adults wishing to quickly improve their travel skills.
The program was created when Leader Dog employees recognized that many prospective guide dog clients were being turned away because they did not have sufficient orientation and mobility skills to navigate successfully with a guide dog.
Clients who take part in Accelerated O&M Training do not have to be planning to get a guide dog. About 50% of Accelerated O&M Training clients return to get a Leader Dog.
The Accelerated O&M Training program is only seven days long. It was designed to aid in rapid improvement of cane mobility skills without a lengthy disruption to clients’ lives.
The training covers many areas of O&M including:
Using a white cane
Utilizing a human guide
Using your orientation skills and cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) to know where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there
Solving problems along your route (barriers, crowds, etc.)
Crossing both narrow and wide streets safely
Re-orienting yourself, or “what to do when you get lost”
Shopping, soliciting assistance when needed, and more
Clients train in a wide variety of environments that they experience in daily life such as residential, semi-business, business, city and country settings.
80% of training takes place outdoors and 20% is completed indoors learning how to maneuver elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks.
Accelerated O&M Training is a residential program, so clients live on our campus in Rochester Hills, Michigan during the week of training.