Three young woman stand outdoors in front a lawn. One woman is holding a white cane while the middle woman appears to be talking

Orientation & Mobility Internship

Edward T. and Ellen K. Dryer Foundation Orientation & Mobility Internship Academy

Leader Dogs for the Blind has been providing orientation and mobility services through the Orientation & Mobility Training program since 2002. The program was awarded a 2012 AFB Access Award. Leader Dogs for the Blind is expanding this program to provide university-prepared orientation and mobility students with a diverse and practical experience for learning to teach orientation and mobility. An O&M internship at Leader Dogs for the Blind will truly prepare the intern for a career as an orientation & mobility specialist. Throughout the internship process the intern will have a multitude of teaching and learning experiences including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Orientation & Mobility Training program: a five-day residential course designed to accelerate the learning process of cane travel with one-on-one instruction.
  • Integration of location technology (GPS) in O&M and guide dog class curriculum.
  • Leader Dog class support for clients receiving guide dog mobility training who may require additional O&M instruction.
  • Leader Dog Summer Experience Camp (available during summer internship only): an eight-day camp for 16- and 17-year-olds designed to promote leadership through personal accountability. Experiences are provided to enhance orientation and mobility through GPS travel, gain knowledge regarding guide dog mobility, and challenge opportunities.

The Leader Dogs for the Blind O&M internship is a premier internship for master’s degree level students. Not all applicants that apply will be awarded this opportunity. Each year, one orientation & mobility internship is available beginning in January, two internships are available beginning in May and one internship in late August. Lodging and meals during the internship are available to accepted interns. Additionally, a $1000.00 stipend is awarded at the completion of the internship.

Application Process

Interested interns should submit the following materials to our manager of extended services at eihrke@leaderdog.org:

  • Resume
  • Letter/e-mail of university faculty support
  • Letter/e-mail of interest

Once we have received the above items, an interview (phone or in person) with prospective interns will be arranged. Placement* will be determined after a background check and no later than four months prior to the start of the internship.

* Please understand that placement of an O&M internship at Leader Dogs for the Blind is not guaranteed.

Questions should be directed to Erica Ihrke, COMS, manager of extended services at eihrke@leaderdog.org or 248-659-5053.

Did you know?Over 1.3 MILLION people are blind or visually impaired in the U.S.

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