Orientation and mobility specialists assist individuals who are blind or visually-impaired in safely navigating their surroundings and improving their skills in doing so. They typically devise plans to help patients improve their knowledge of their surroundings and ability to safely move around them. These specialists are often employed in schools to assist impaired students and in rehabilitation facilities to assist other clients, so interpersonal skills are important in this position to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Orientation/mobility specialists work closely with parents, teachers, school personnel, and rehabilitation center staff, and communication skills are important in this position to update others who work with impaired clients to understand their progress. Both part-time and full-time positions are available.
A bachelor's degree in a relevant medical field is generally required for this position, and additional training and licensing may also be required for certain types of work, such as certifications to work with the visually-impaired and ACVREP certification. These specialists should also have a valid driver's license, reliable transportation, and prior experience working with people in the target population. Travel from one school or rehabilitation facility to another is often necessary, and they may also transport some clients to public places, such as shopping malls or supermarkets, to help these clients navigate their environments.
Orientation and Mobility Specialist Tasks
- Assist client in body image relation, spatial and environment orientation skills.
- Assess and record client's orientation and mobility skills.
- Analyze and determine client's maximum travel potential using guides and canes.
- Educate clients with vision impairments, the skills needed for safety and independent living.
- Prepare and maintain client's progress reports and future goals.