Orientation and Mobility Assessment Checklist

So far, this is a random list of concepts and skills sequences, but I modify it and reorganize constantly. Students are rated using a three part outcome assessment strategy (below). I also use this guide as a reminder of basic O&M concepts (lesson plan ideas, key ideas, etc.)

Experience outcomes (EOs): students get credit for experiencing new spatial layouts or repeating (practicing) in familiar settings. This outcome level also means that specific concepts or skills were taught during the lesson. Showing up is the assessment test.

Knowledge outcomes (KOs): students get credit for repeating back to the teacher concepts, skill sequences, lesson objectives. Assessment: one on one correct verbal repeating to the teacher (on the spot testing of verbal awareness/understanding).

Competence outcomes (COs): students get credit for demonstrating one on one or in group sessions the skills that are being taught. Assessment: demonstrated skill competency in a real world setting (the community).

Independence can be enhanced through the accomplishment of outcomes in three skill areas:

Sensory skills

Navigational skills

Mobility skills


Sensory skills; Basic knowledge

Body parts and Body planes

Identify sound sources (typical ambient sounds):

EO: Experience the sounds, be instructed concerning what the sounds are
KO: Identify the sounds correctly when asked to do so
CO: Differentiate the sound from others

1. Fan blowing (motor sound and air currents)
2. Water cooler (motor and water sounds)
3. Appliance motors (refrigerator, pop machine sounds)
4. Doors opening and closing
5. Toilets flushing
6. Vehicle motors (car, bus)
7. People talking
8. Phones ringing
9. Power wheelchairs

Travel to sound sources

Position the body in relation to sound sources

locate objects on a small surface (food tray etc.)

positional concepts: front/back; sides, above/below, across from, next to;

movement concepts: fast/ slow; turn(ing) 90 degrees; one step; turn around; face something; walk next to; walk away from/toward; walk parallel to/perpendicular; lean/stand up straight; open/close; into/out of; inside/outside; over/under/around; tarvel a route (simple to complex); straight/veer; going/coming back (over the same route)

sound concepts: loud/soft; to one side or the other; near/far; above; below; echo; soundscapes (judging room size; identify rooms by the sound signature)

what is a normal gait? what is a blind gait?

How to use a telescope

How to make the world more seeable

What is a mental image?

A collection (set) of sensory inputs (non-visual or with low vision) that create a gestalt (holistic) image of a specific location in space.

How do you create mental images?

1. Establish a reference point.
2. Establish a set (frozen) body position at the reference point
3. Localize (determine) auditory (and tactual) input in relationship to your body.
4. Have a sighted friend (or a mobility specialist) "paint" a mental picture of objects in the room relative to your location
5. Verbally describe the setting based on all the feedback
6. To build a greater understanding of small spaces, exploration (going and coming from the reference point) is needed.

What is vision like?

1. If we have two eyes why don't we see two of everything (vision is in the brain, not in the eyes; it is a complex total brain complex)
2. Vision is a "window" that we move around using our head and eye movements (we are blind behind and above our heads)
3. There are two general vision systems (two major brain processing areas)
4. One system sees in great detail and in color. It locks-on to objects and tracks them. (this system identifies people and things)
5. The other system is for navigation. It sees in black and white, is very motion sensitive, and is very good at night vision.
6. Vision is used to non-verbally communicate (interpret face and body gestures, watches eye signals, etc.)
The student can describe what their low vision is like and how it differs from normal

Vision training (visual skills development):


Navigational skills

What is a landmark? A clue? A beacon?

What is a reference point?

Three kinds of location reference:

1. Global: GPS;
2. Local: street names, etc;
3. Relational: "next door" "across the street from"

What is an orientation check?

What are some of the messages a landmark or clue might convey?

How do you learn a new space?

Why do blind individuals get lost?

1. They do not line up correctly when they leave a location (they immediately start off at an angle to their destination).
2. They leave without a plan that contains a chain of landmarks, or they depart without a well learned kinesthetic memory of the route.
3. They fail to follow the chain of landmarks or recall the spatial memory of the route (they daydream or get distracted).
4. They fail to make 90 degree turns (or correct angles) at turns in the route
5. They overshoot, missing the final landmark and move into unexplored territory.

What strategies do you use if you do get lost?

1. Stop and assess the situation
2. Tell yourself "Do not panic" (excessive fear or anxiety blocks the ability to perceive clearly and to problem solve accurately; panic endangers.
3. Listen for familiar landmarks and clues. Take note of unfamiliar input.
4. If you hear or feel a familar set of landmarks align your body to re-establish orientation
5. Rethink how far you traveled when you were sure of your location.
6. If you do not receive a familiar set of landmarks, search (move) in the immediate area to find familiar input.
7. Ask for assistance from pedestrians.
8. Use your cellphone and call for assistance (ore use your GPS or other orientation aid).

What is a residential neighborhood?

What is a small business district?

What is a downtown?

Grocery store familiarization

Indoor mall travel

Outdoor mall travel

Department store familiarization:

Hypermarket familiarization:

House/apartment familiarizationn (relate rooms to their functions and what is in typical defined spaces)

Classroom familiarization

School familiarization

Rural travel:

Orientation to public buildings (libraries, government offices)

Travel in adverse weather conditions

Night travel

Drop off lessons

What do we mean by "traffic control"? Give examples?

What is road "camber"?

What is an intersection?

walk around an intersection clockwise and then counterclockwise

How does the sun move across the sky?

What is the difference between left and right vs. the cardinal directions?

What are the cardinal directions?

What is a city block?Block concepts

Walk around a city block clockwise and then counterclockwise

1. Blocks are planned spatial areas found in cities in North America
2. There are hundreds (or more) blocks in cities (increasing as the size of cities increase)
3. Blocks are bordered by four different streets (two going N/S and two going E/W
4. Curbs border the block
5. Blocks are high in the center and slope down to the streets
6. Blocks are squares or (more often) rectangles
7. Sidewalks drop to the street and rise up when coming from the street

Differentiate parallel from perpendicular.

What is a parkway? Driveway apron? Blended curb? Wedge? Gutter?

What do we mean by "route travel?"

follow directions to cpver a route

give directions as the teacher follows the route described

1. travel a straight line pattern and return
2. travel an L pattern and return
3. travel a U pattern and return
4. travel from a refernce point to a close by location

How do you line up straight to cross a street?

How is the cane used when crossing streets/ (uses of the long cane)?

1. To identity the person as visually impaired
2. To signal the intent to begin crossing (motion of cane before stepping into the street)
3. Allows attention to sounds while crossing the street (takes the attention off the feet)
4. Locates the curb after the street is crossed
5. Three point touch if veering has occured (recovery from veer)

What is a White Cane Law?

The width of streets varies depending on the traffic flow

Understand clockwise and counterclockwise

How to make 90 degree turns (360, 45, etc.)

How to have a "normal" (sighted) gate?

Mapping skills:

Transport depot familiarization



Mobility skills

Ues of the Long Cane

1. Identifies the traveler as visaully impaired or blind 2. Signals cars that the traveler is about to cross a street 3. Allows the head to be held up while crossing a street 4. Locates curbs 5. Used with the three point touch 6. Probe 7. Bumper 8. Drop off and step up (curb) detector 9. Echo location device 10. Used for squaring off 11. Gait

Street Crossing:

How do you cross a quiet residential street?

Four ways to line up at street crossings

1. maintain your stratight line of direction
2. use the grass line or a parallel object (postal box, for example)
3. can use the curb if it is familiar and known to line up perpendicular
4. project a line of direction as cars pass parallel to the line of travel

What is the correct cane placement when waiting to cross a street?

What do you do when encountering a car parked across a sidewalk?

What is the three point touch technique?

What does it mean "to veer?"

If you veer when crossing a street, how do you recover?

What is the sighted guide technique and how do you do it?

What are cane skills and how do you do the techniques?

Diagonal Technique
Touch Technique

Transportation: City bus; lift bus; train; taxi; airplane familiarization

How to call for transportation