Orientation and Mobility
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is the field of teaching blind children and adults to travel independently with a long white cane. There is still a shortage of blindness professionals in the field today, and we at the Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University are doing our part to train skilled instructors with high expectations for blind students.
Louisiana Tech is the only orientation and mobility program that specifically teaches the structured-discovery cane travel method to future instructors. Students learn first-hand the capabilities of the blind through extensive training under shades and by learning from blind people.
All our O&M students go through blindness immersion at the Louisiana Center for the Blind (LCB) for a quarter. There, they participate in all Center classes—cane travel, braille, assistive technology, home management and industrial arts—under blindfold alongside LCB students. After immersion, O&M students take 6 more months of travel under sleep shades to improve their mobility skills.
Students participate in several trips with the Center and on their own to gain valuable non-visual travel experience and skill. Trips include Mardi Gras in New Orleans, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, subway travel in Washington D.C. and other trips designed to instill confidence through experience.
O&M students complete a 10-week-long internship at LCB before sitting for the National Orientation and Mobility Certification. Our students develop their own teaching style and techniques as they work with Center students and receive feedback from all travel instructors. They also have the opportunity to teach blind children in LCB summer programs, including the Louisiana NFB BELL, Buddy and STEP programs.
Our graduates are well equipped to teach in a variety of settings, including public schools, for Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, for Veterans Affairs agencies, in rehabilitation training centers for the blind and other locations.
Why get a Degree in Orientation and Mobility?
If you're trying to decide upon a career after college, can't see yourself sitting behind a desk every day and like working outdoors, consider a career in Orientation and Mobility for the blind. In addition to being an active job, it gives you the chance to change the lifes of people who are dealing with vision loss in a profound and lasting way. When you teach visually impaired or blind people to use a long white cane, you are giving the gift of independence.
No teaching background or blindness experience is necessary. It doesn’t matter what your Bachelor’s degree is in. We have trained successful O&M Instructors with degrees in anything from the arts to psychology. We can teach you all the skills and techniques you need.
Jobs are in high demand, and we need more O&M instructors trained in non-visual blindness skills in our schools, state-run agencies and VA agencies. Current demand for our graduates continues to far outstrip the number of qualified professionals we can train each year, meaning that jobs are available and job security is stable.
The four courses listed here are the blindness-specific courses required in the Louisiana Tech University Orientation and Mobility graduate program. They are not the only courses required for the degree. Please Contact us for more information.
- EPSY580 Immersion in Blindness Practicum, 6 credit hours
- EPSY582 Introduction to Orientation and Mobility, 3 credit hours
- EPSY583 Advanced Orientation and Mobility, 3 credit hours
- EPSY584 Internship in Orientation and Mobility, 6 credit hours