An Orientation and Mobility Specialist will instruct the student in cane use, general “movement techniques,” using “environmental information” (sounds, smells, and touch) to enhance mobility and help modify the “school environment” (BCC, 1993, p. 18). However it is the classroom teacher’s responsibility to orient the student to his/her particular classroom.
Becoming Orientated to the Environment
- Students, especially young ones, must learn about the structures of the room and explore them (Baldwin, n.d., Issues for New Teachers).
Baldwin states that “there are characteristic sounds that are located in fixed positions inside spaces, [for example], the sound of an aquarium bubbling on one side of a room…A blind child needs only a single sound source within a room to travel about the room unassisted” (n.d., Issues for New Teachers, Positioning the Body in Space, ¶ 3).
“Solid objects, like desks, walls, chairs can be used for orienting in space. Blind children can position their bodies to flat surfaces and then travel to other areas of a room. The teacher uses the combined sensory richness of a room, the sounds, smells, and tactile surfaces together to build a blind child's understanding of space” (Baldwin, n.d., Issues for New Teachers, Positioning the Body in Space, ¶ 8).
In order to familiarize the student with the classroom, it is important to establish a “definite landmark” (e.g. object, door, fixed sound) as a “home base” and explore the room systematically (ADE, 1996, p. 24), for example, left to right, in to out (Sewell, 2005). Give the student the opportunity to wander around and explore the room when other students are not present, so as to minimize extraneous noise and embarrassment.
For more information about orientation and mobility within the classroom, refer to the link http://www.wayfinding.net/indexschool.htm (Baldwin, n.d., Orientation and Mobility Department).
Chapter 1: The Spirit of Inclusion
Chapter 3: Technological and Medical Interventions
Chapter 4: Teaching Strategies and Accommodations
Chapter 5: Activities
Chapter 6: Social Skills
Chapter 7: Counseling Students with Vision Impairment
Chapter 8: Working with Families
Chapter 9: Research and Reflections