Orientation and Mobility
Contact: Claire Hakin, COMS, Consultant 919.807.3966
A related service to students with a qualifying visual impairment. O&M instruction enables …”students to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their school, home and community.” (NC Policies Governing Services for Students with Disabilities, NC 1500-2.28)
The Orientation and Mobility Consultant serves as a resource to local education agencies, EC directors, teachers of the visually impaired, students, parents, all Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team members , and school support personnel that may interact with the student. The Consultant is available by invitation from the EC Director for student evaluations, school environmental assessments, and IEP Team consultations regarding best practice information and appropriate expectations.
Who provides O&M Instruction?
Best practice supports a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS) through the Academy of Vision Rehabilitation Professionals (ACVREP). Some of the requirements for certification include: O&M specific master’s level course work through an approved university program, 350 hour internship under a COMS, and a qualifying exam. Certification is renewed every five years with fulfillment of at least 25 continuing educational credits. For Details see: http://www.acvrep.org/certification-process.php
How is the need for O&M instruction determined?
A student with a visual impairment may be referred for an initial O&M evaluation through the IEP Team. Parent permission to evaluate must be obtained. Evaluations performed by a Certified Orientation &Mobility Specialist are comprised of: Medical Eye Report review; IEP and latest evaluations review, observations, assessment tools and environmental assessment of the school, home, and community, regarding developmentally appropriate independent travel expectations; and interviews with educational team members. The results of the evaluation are shared with the IEP Team which uses the information and recommendations to determine and or develop, if needed orientation and mobility goals and services.
Additional Resources for O&M Specialist’s working in a school setting
- Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Division 9 (O&M)
- Division 9 Position Papers
- The Michigan Orientation and Mobility Severity Rating Scale