Orientation & Mobility Training: What to Expect
The orientation & mobility (O&M) curriculum at Leader Dogs for the Blind is designed to be practical and flexible in order to address the unique circumstances of each client. We provide a variety of learning options based upon your individual needs and goals during our one-week program. Our clients enjoy comfortable accommodations in the Polk Residence and Training Center in a private room equipped with a small refrigerator, television, internet access, temperature controls and immediate access to a secure outdoor area. The facility is furnished with multiple lounges, a fitness center, and a library with books on tape, Braille materials and computers with internet access. Our kitchen staff prepares all meals and will accommodate any dietary restrictions. Residence staff is on hand to serve the needs of clients above and beyond O&M instruction.
What You Will Learn
Orientation & Mobility Training will help you develop or refresh the skills and concepts you need to travel safely and independently within your home environment and in the community. You will work one-on-one with a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS) who will tailor your instruction to you.
Training will focus on many areas of orientation and mobility, 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 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 indoor environments including elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks.
Training is personalized to meet each client's needs. Typically, class runs Monday through Friday with Sunday reserved as arrival day and Saturday reserved as departure day. Although training sessions take place over the course of several hours or more, two to four lessons are provided during that time with short rest breaks in between each lesson. The general daily schedule is as follows:
- 7:30 a.m. Breakfast
- 8:30 a.m. Training
- 11:15 a.m. Break
- 12:00 p.m. Lunch
- 1:00 p.m. Training
- 3:30 p.m. Break
- 5:30 p.m. Dinner
Training finishes around 3:30 p.m. daily. Clients can expect some homework; however, evenings are typically unscheduled. Clients may plan evening hours as you wish. Additionally, there is an optional night lesson.
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