Orientation and Mobility (O&M)

Blindness and low vision can often cause people to lose confidence and impact their ability to get around safely.

Our Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialists will assess the individuals’ needs and the environments they wish to travel in to ensure any potential risks are identified and reduced.  They provide the skills which enable people to enter any environment, familiar or unfamiliar, and to function safely, efficiently, and independently

The ability and, just as importantly, the confidence to move safely and independently around your community and environment, when you want and how you want, is a basic essential. O&M skills provide the building blocks for all that follows – it provides functional independence and wellbeing that is needed for employment, social inclusion, accessing other programs, services, recreation, participation in everyday life as people with sight take for granted.

A long white cane is the mobility tool that most people who are blind choose to move about safely and independently it also acts as an international symbol that the person carrying it has vision impairment.

Good cane skills provide immense benefits and personal freedom it increases mobility, lifts expectations, opens social opportunity and develops adaptability and personal resilience. A cane is versatile and low maintenance. Canes and replacement cane tips are currently provided free of charge by Vision Australia.

The cane is long enough to be about 1.5+ steps ahead of the person’s feet. This allows the person to find objects with the cane before hitting them. There are three types of canes: long cane, ID cane and support cane.

A client can start getting around reasonably quickly learning the basics of arc, walking in step (two point touch), a light touch and shore-lining after a few sessions. But it may take some time before they can achieve more complex techniques like using the sun, wind, or sound around them and constant touch to keep oriented.  

To read more about these services and view a video on guiding a person who is blind or has low visit, visit our Vision Australia site.