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West Virginia School for the Blind

Orientation & Mobility (O&M)




Orientation and mobility (O&M) is a set of concepts, skills, and techniques for safe, efficient travel (i.e., purposeful, directed movement) by individuals with visual impairments[1] in all environments and under all conditions (Jacobson, 2013). Orientation is the awareness of one’s position in space, and mobility is how one moves through that space (Wiener, Welsh, & Blasch, 2010). Individuals with visual impairments use O&M skills and techniques to travel safely and independently through the environment. O&M instruction focuses on the development of sensory perception and interpretation of visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, kinesthetic, vestibular, and proprioceptive information. Independent travel often involves the use of orientation and mobility devices and tools (e.g., long canes, dog guides, and adaptive mobility devices) and orientation technology (e.g., global positioning systems [GPS] and mobile apps).


O&M specialists[2] are professionals who have specialized knowledge and skills related to teaching individuals with visual impairments to travel in their natural environments. O&M specialists introduce travel skills in increasingly complex environments to prepare people to travel as independently as possible in various familiar and unfamiliar settings, including home, school, day program, workplace, and community. O&M services involve ongoing comprehensive assessments which lead to an individualized curriculum and instruction based on the person’s current and future needs, strengths, limitations, and preferences. The practice of O&M is dynamic in response to new technologies, ongoing research, and best practices.


Scope of Practice in Orientation and Mobility

Justin T. Kaiser, Jennifer L. Cmar, Sandra Rosen, Dawn Anderson

Approved July 2018




[1] In this document, the phrase “individuals with visual impairments” (or “individuals”) refers to students, clients, and consumers who are blind or have low vision who may be served by O&M specialists.

[2] “O&M specialist” is used throughout this document to refer to professionals who provide O&M services; however, these professionals may use other titles such as O&M instructor.

O&M Instructor Matt Stewart    Matthew Stewart Matt Stewart is one of the Orientation and Mobility Stewart is one of the Orientation and Mobility (O&M) therapists at the West Virginia School for the Blind. This is his sixth year at WVSB and tenth year in education. Matt Stewart is a Certified teacher of the Visually Impaired and Certified Orientation and Mobility therapist. His degrees include B.S. Communications, M.A. Special Education TVI, and G.C. in Orientation an Mobility and Education Administration. He attended West Virginia State University, Marshall University, and Salus University.
Mrs. Lydia Moreland Lydia Moreland


Lydia M. Moreland is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) through Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP) at West Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind.  Her degrees include B.S. Psychology-Frostburg State University, M.Ed. Special Education Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI)-Marshall University, and Graduate Certification, COMS-Salus University.   She began at WVSDB as a long-term substitute teacher in 2009 and later as secondary science and health teacher before becoming an orientation and mobility specialist.