O & M for Young Children with Visual Impairments

An early introduction to orientation and mobility skills gives children the freedom and confidence to move through the world independently. These sites offer advice for developing and encouraging independence, confidence, and orientation and mobility skills in infants and small children who are blind or visually impaired.
 
DVI Quartererly, 51(1), 2005, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Division on Visual Impairments
This article from CEC's DVI Quarterly offers ideas on how to build play/exploration environments, how to highlight landmarks, and how to design mini-travel routes in a child's day.
 
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Starting with the home and expanding to the neighborhood, this article tells parents how to help preschoolers know where they are, how they got there, and how they can find the way back.
 
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This section focuses on teaching orientation and mobility skills to children with multiple disabilities, with specific information about children in strollers or wheelchairs.
 
Blind Children's Resource Center
Joe Cutter, Early Childhood O&M specialist with the NJ Commission for the Blind, shares his thoughts on teaching Orientation and Mobility to young children.  He addresses the topics of independence, visual development, and other issues in early childhood.
 
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
There are several kinds of mobility devices that young children who are blind or severely visually impaired can learn to use. These devices, which probe the area ahead of the child, include kiddie canes and adapted canes, also known as pre-canes or alternative mobility devices. This site describes these devices; how parents and teachers can use them with young children; what children will learn; and where these devices can be purchased. Available in Spanish.
 
Family Connect
What to expect from your young child's orientation and mobility (O&M) assessment. Also available in Spanish.
 
WonderBaby.org
Babies who are born blind or visually impaired need body awareness and orientation skills from the very beginning.  WonderBaby gets you started with Games You Can Play Now.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Youngsters love to explore through play and try out new ideas and skills.  Use these opportunities to establish skills which will be meaningful for the child's mobility and development.
 
Colorado Department of Education
Tanni L. Anthony explains the instructional philosophy of teaching methodologies specific to the youngest clients.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
The article is taken from Reaching, Crawling, Walking . . .Orientation and Mobility for Preschool Children, and addresses the importance of movement in the development of children who are blind.  Also available in Spanish.
 
Future Reflections, 23(2), Special Issue 2004, National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
This article emphasizes the importance of parents as teachers of mobility; based on a presentation by Joe Cutter to the Parents of Blind Children Seminar..
 
Fredric Schroeder, PhD. Future Reflections, Vol. 8, No.1 (2008)
This article, from the Future Reflections special issue on Cane Travel and Independence explains the similarities and differences between adult cane training and training for children.
 
WonderBaby.org
This article offers ideas of ways to introduce orientation and mobility skills from the time a baby is born.  It includes sections on directions and body awareness, environmental sounds, and suggested games.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
A simple listing of developmental expectations for orientation and mobility, and environmental supports for reaching these goals.

 

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