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Three women walk towards the camera on a sidewalk lined with potted flowers.

Orientation & Mobility

 orange icon with a person walking with a white caneOrientation and mobility (O&M) training is learning how to use a white cane to effectively know where you are, where you want to go and the skills to get to your destination.

Our Orientation & Mobility program is a one-week residential program. Clients stay on our campus and O&M training takes place in a wide variety of environments, such as residential, semi-business, business, city and rural settings. The majority of instruction takes place outdoors with the remainder focusing on how to navigate indoor environments including elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks.

Our O&M program provides individuals with the skills needed to travel safely using a white cane in a much shorter time frame than traditional O&M programs. The one-on-one instruction is tailored to each client’s capabilities, allowing individual needs to be met.

During training, skills learned may include:

  • Utilizing a human guide
  • Using a white cane
  • 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
  • Re-orientating yourself
  • Shopping, soliciting assistance when needed, and more

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 they plan to train with a guide dog. Transportation to and from a client’s home to the Leader Dog campus and accommodations and meals while training is also provided free of charge.

From Our Blog

Is O&M Right for Me?

A man walks down a sunny sidewalk with outdoor tables. He is walking with a white cane next to a woman in a Leader Dog polo

In the week-long Accelerated Orientation & Mobility Training program at Leader Dog, clients benefit from a program that is individualized for their specific needs. ... Read More

When is it Time for a Cane?

Demmitt A And Sophie

Among my biggest challenges as I lost more vision was the ability to move about safely. I started doing some very annoying things like walking into doors, missing curbs, and bumping into people while in public. ... Read More

A woman with a white cane walks down a sidewalk on a sunny day. There is an arch with a bar through the middle placed on the sidewalk in front of her. This is an obstacle for her to practice working around.

In this article, I will be going through my visit to the Leader Dog campus to answer any questions one might have and what to expect when going through [orientation and mobility] training while also illustrating the impact it has on those of us with a disability. ... Read More