O&M Strategies for Working with Students with CVI

Partners in O&M: Supporting Orientation and Mobility for Students Who Are Visually Impaired, is a resource that bridges the gap between what O&M specialists teach, and every day life with parents and TVIs. In chapter 4, readers learn about O&M for children with CVI.


SIDEBAR 4.7
O&M Strategies for Working with Students with CVI
Roman-Lantzy (2010, 2018) suggests that teaching strategies and modifications used when working with students with CVI should be individualized, based on the student’s CVI characteristics as well as O&M principles. The following are a few strategies and modifications that can be used by the O&M specialist as well as other members of the educational team.

  • Present objects in a student’s preferred visual field.
  • Draw attention to non-preferred visual fields with movement or use of a preferred color.
  • Increase visual attention to visual fields at a distance that are not preferred.
  • Use lights, Mylar pom-poms, or other reflective materials with light shining on an object to motivate reaching behavior or movement.
  • Present target objects against a contrasting color background.
  • Use familiar objects.
  • Use single-colored objects presented against contrasting solid backgrounds.
  • Attach a familiar object to a novel object you want the student to view to make it easier to initially view the novel object.
  • Accommodate visual latency by allowing extra time to view objects.
  • To make a student’s desk highly visible, place a yellow ink blotter on the desk and use clear contact paper to keep it in place.
  • Use a chair that is a different color from the color of the student’s desk.
  • Use reflective tape or paint to mark stairs and other elevation changes.
  • Travel in brightly lit corridors.
  • Use a brightly colored rug or other material to label a landmark; remove it once the student becomes familiar with the landmark.
  • Use verbal prompts such as “slow,” “look,” and “check.”
  • Make the student aware that visual field preferences may create potential hazards during O&M instruction. Practice increasing the use of other fields.
  • Start with a simple, controlled environment. Be aware of impediments and complications as the student’s travel environment becomes more visually complex or contains high levels of sensory complexity (e.g., noisy downtown area).”


This timely new resource reflects innovative thinking in teaching O&M to children, provides a solid foundation for future O&M specialists, and addresses concepts and strategies other professionals need to know to reinforce O&M skills. In addition to prospective O&M specialists and teachers of students with visual impairments, Partners in O&M will be useful for special education teachers, physical and occupational therapists, paraeducators, and interveners, among others. Check it out: https://bit.ly/2Am5Ffs

You can find more excellent resources from AFB Press, now distributed by APH by visiting: https://www.aph.org/afb-press/

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