Orientation and mobility, or O&M, is a series of skills that allows a person who is blind or visually impaired to travel independently through a constantly changing world. Solid O&M skills are what makes it possible for someone who is blind to navigate confidently with a white cane, and these skills are the foundational tools of being able to work with a guide dog. The free, one-week Orientation & Mobility Training program at Leader Dogs for the Blind may be right for you if you need basic O&M skills or if you have had changes in your life. These may include:
- You have relocated and you want to feel more confident orienting yourself to an unfamiliar environment.
- Your vision has changed and you want to feel confident traveling using more non-visual techniques at different times of the day or year.
- You feel like you are relying too heavily on your guide dog, your friends or family members for direction.
- You want to prove to yourself, friends and family that you have what it takes to be an independent traveler.
- You are thinking about retiring your current guide dog and want to brush up on your O&M skills before training with a new guide dog.
In the week-long Orientation & Mobility Training program at Leader Dog, clients benefit from a program that is individualized for their specific needs. Areas of training may include basic cane skills, utilizing a human guide, street crossings, traveling in residential, business shopping and rural environments. To further tailor training to each client’s needs, we offer the following training options for O&M:
- Introduction to O&M: Great for people with little to no experience with a cane. Don’t have a cane yet? You’ll receive one for free as part of this program.
- O&M Brush-Up: Ideal for those who have had previous O&M training and could use a refresher course or additional skills.
- Guide Dog Readiness: For cane users who are thinking about whether a guide dog may be right for them, this option helps build the necessary skills. This option does not guarantee acceptance into Guide Dog Training.
- Advanced O&M: Designed for individuals who are traveling in complex environments and more challenging intersections.
As with all of our programs, the O&M Training program is free (including travel to and from our campus, room and board, and equipment). Clients do not have to be interested in getting a Leader Dog to participate in O&M Training. If you’re thinking this sounds like the right option for you or someone you know, call our client services team today at 888-777-5332 or contact us online.