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orientation and mobility Client Vikki M gravel road trees

Orientation and 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 and 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

A woman with short blond hair in a blue shirt and black leggings walks on a sidewalk surrounded by grass with a white cane in her hand. Behind her is a man in a green polo and khaki pants.

Choosing a White Cane

My name is Brad Welling, and I am one of the certified orientation and mobility specialists (COMS) here at Leader Dog. I’m originally from the Kalamazoo area in Michigan where I attended Western Michigan University. I graduated from WMU with an undergraduate degree along with a master’s in orientation and mobility. While attending WMU I … Read more

Six people, two women and four men, stand on a gravel road, smiling at the camera. Three people hold white canes.

What is Orientation and Mobility?

You may not have heard of “orientation and mobility” or “O&M” before, but you’re probably familiar with the concept of someone who’s blind traveling with a white cane. Orientation and mobility (O&M) is how we refer to the training people receive to navigate with a white cane successfully. Let’s break it down. The “orientation” in … 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.

Orientation & Mobility Experience at Leader Dog

By Client Justin Whittington When writing my articles, I try to educate both the visually impaired and the sighted community. 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 … Read more