Orientation and Mobility (O & M) services are available in the school setting for students who have been established as having a visual acuity of 20/200 in their best eye when corrected or as visually impaired with acuity of 20/70 or less. If peripheral field of vision is restricted to 20 degrees or diagnosed with a progressively deteriorating eye condition the student will also qualify as visually impaired. These services are available through your public school district, Intermediate School District or county programs. When establishing an IEP for a visually impaired student O & M services must be considered. It is defined under 34 CFR .300.34 of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and is provided to students that meet this criteria for special education services under Special Education Rule 13 160-4-7-.05, Eligibility Determination and Categories of Eligibility (see webpage at http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Special-Education-Services/Pages/Orientation-and-Mobility-Services.aspx). Services are not limited to only totally blind children, but can be a service in order to access and benefit from an educational plan. The Individual Education Plan (IEP) team comes together to make decisions about providing a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for your visually impaired student and should discuss the possible need for O & M services and then make a referral for an evaluation by a certified orientation and mobility specialist.
Direct O&M instruction can include:
- Protective techniques
- Building orientation and numbering systems
- Movement with a sighted guide
- Indoor and outdoor cane skills
- Street crossing
- Use of public transportation
- Use of landmarks, sounds, and other clues for orientation
- Use of compass directions and electronic tools such as GPS devices
- Use of systematic search patterns to explore novel objects and environment
- Knowledge of where, when, and how to solicit help
A free cane can obtained through the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) at NFB.org. These are fiberglass canes and non-foldable. The canes range in length starting with 25 inches. One free cane can be obtained every 6 months. To obtain canes that fold and other items visit Independent Market at NFB.org or call: 410 659 9314 ext. 2216.
Eligibility Determination and Categories of Eligibility: