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  • Writer's pictureThabo Baseki

Orientation and Mobility - What is it?

Several round stones stacked on top of each other, representing the idea of balance

Orientation and mobility are concepts that you've certainly heard of if you're blind or visually impaired. In this short article, we'll briefly go over what orientation and mobility are, how they vary, and why it's important to study them. The ability to navigate and move around independently and with confidence in any setting is crucial for blind and visually impaired people. Orientation and mobility, to put it simply, are a collection of abilities that enable someone who is blind or has low vision to independently and securely navigate their surroundings.

It's vital to comprehend these two concepts separately before moving on. Mobility relates to a person's capacity and preparedness to move in their surroundings, whereas orientation refers to a person's ability to use their senses to know where they are positioned in their environment.

Why Learn Orientation and Mobility?

You could wonder, "Why learn mobility and orientation?". This is crucial for giving you the knowledge and abilities to travel on your own and lead the life of your choosing. It's important to keep in mind, though, that youngsters will concentrate on idea growth and exploration in order to hone their senses and place themselves within their environment. With the acquisition of these abilities, they start to improve their movement and gain more self-assurance when interacting with unfamiliar situations. On the other hand, an adult's needs can be very different; for instance, they might get vision loss later in life and need more help traversing a space.

Tools to Help

Many people find great value in mobility aids, and those who are blind or have low vision can locate the right one for them through orientation and mobility consultations. Whether it's being guided, finding fallen objects, or securely navigating their way across a street or along a busy road, an orientation and mobility specialist will work with their client to locate the best mobility aids for them and incorporate them into their training.

Mobility aids include white canes, Seeing Eye Dogs and monoculars – small devices which magnifies information such as street signs, public transport route numbers and destination signs on trains, trams and buses. (Vision Australia) The Sunu Band is one of the more recent mobility aids, which employs vibrations and sonar to help individuals notice impediments.

Make it a point to locate a local facility that can teach you mobility and orienting skills. Once you have these, you may take advantage of the countless opportunities that independence presents, particularly when it comes to navigating new environments. Use the tools your instructor in orientation and mobility suggests without hesitation. Vision Australia has put up a good article to read more about this subject.

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