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The Role of Orientation and Mobility in Gross Motor Development and Sensory...

Definition of Orientation and Mobility. Orientation and Mobility, or O

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The Role of Orientation and Mobility in Gross Motor Development and Sensory Integration in Students Who are Visually Imp

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The Role of Orientation and Mobility inGross Motor Development and Sensory Integrationin Students Who are Visually Impaired

BESB, Department of Children’s Services

Related Services Unit

Orientation and Mobility Group

Definition of orientation and mobility

Definition of Orientation and Mobility

Orientation and Mobility, or O&M, is made up of two pieces.

The “Orientation” piece is knowing where you are, where you want to go, and how to get to there.

The “Mobility” piece is getting to where you want to go safely and as independently as possible.

Basic outline of goals for orientation and mobility from birth to grave

Basic Outline of Goals for Orientation and Mobility, from birth to grave:

Let them know you are there,

Keep “in touch”,

Expose them to stimuli,

Encourage their curiosity,

Get ‘em going,

Keep ‘em safe,

Refine their techniques,

Expand their knowledge,

Expose them to real world situations,

Teach them to make good judgments and choices,

Teach them to be problem solvers.

A more detailed view

A more detailed view…

Many variables will affect the type and duration of training in orientation and mobility. The most significant factors will be age of onset, severity of vision loss, and the presence and type of additional disabilities.

Two enormous factors affecting the rate of acquisition of skills and ultimately the level of independence are, family involvement and Team involvement.

Motor development

Motor Development




School Age


  • What are they doing at each level?

  • How does the vision loss affect their development?

  • How do we habilitate, rehabilitate, and remediate?

Areas of challenge

Areas of Challenge

Unintentional, counterproductive, adaptive techniques:

  • Out-toeing

  • Shuffling

  • Head direction for vision (eccentric viewing or null point)

    Additional disabilities

    What is straight?

Tools for motor development

Tools for Motor Development

Motor planning

Motor Planning

  • Outer space

  • Feeling safe and in control

  • Basic obstacle course

  • Consistent areas for play

  • Consistent locations for toys, etc.

  • Carpeted areas or markers along a route

  • Auditory clues

Adaptive mobility devices

Adaptive Mobility Devices

White cane (long cane) or pre-cane

Support cane

Crutches, Walker, Wheelchair, Motorized device

Progressive difficulty

Progressive Difficulty

Terrain Preparation

1. Solid, level surfaces

2. Uneven surfaces (e.g. grass and sand)

3. Changes in elevation

4. Ramps, driveways, and inclines

5. Stairs (ascending and descending)

Levels of Independence

1. Age appropriate activities

2. OMS pulling back as much as possible to allow individual to function on their own

Other tools

Other Tools

Balance games

1. Tipping board, air disc, foam roll

2. Lunch tray with tennis ball

3. Postural lessons

4. Going where your nose takes you

  • Head, shoulders, knees, and toes


Sensory integration

Sensory Integration

Sensory Modalities

  • Residual Vision

  • Auditory

  • Tactile

  • Kinesthetic

  • Other Senses (olfactory, etc.)

Areas of challenge1

Areas of Challenge

  • Attention/Filtering

  • Tactile Defensiveness

  • Hearing Loss

  • Sensory Integration Disorder

Visual concerns

Visual Concerns

  • Fluctuating Visual Conditions

  • Depth perception

  • Contrast sensitivity

  • Glare

  • Reduced acuity

  • Reduced fields (peripheral and central)

Tools and strategies for sensory integration

Tools and Strategies for Sensory Integration

  • Visual Aids

    • Monocular Telescopes

    • Magnifiers

    • Sunglasses/Tints

  • Flashlights/Headlamps

  • Echolocation

  • Systematic Desensitization

  • Movement Activities (e.g. Educational Kinesiology

  • Sound Samples

  • A few thoughts to consider

    A few thoughts to consider…

    Psychosocial adjustments

    Developing trust and rapport for facing the fear in some activities

    Support from family, peers, and the Team

    Does everyone want the same outcome?