Introduction to Assistive Technology for Vision Impairments

Module 2.2: Orientation and Mobility

When the vision is compromised, how does a person orient with the environment?
When a person with vision impairment wants to move from one place to another, what cues support his/her mobility?
Orientation and mobility are two of the main functional areas of daily living that get affected for a person with vision impairment. Orientation refers to a person’s awareness of position in space while mobility refers to the capability to move through the environment safely, efficiently, and independently.
Any environmental sound, object, tactile information or odour that can enable a person with vision impairment to analyze his or her position or direction to move is considered a “clue” in their mobility and orientation.
These clues include using mobility aids like a walking stick or accommodations in the environment – say, different textured tiles, aromatic plants, objects on the pathway, etc.
Independent navigation and mobility can improve the self-confidence of a person with vision impairment and enable he/she to better integrate in mainstream society.
Here’s a video that gives you a peek into a specialized training programme on orientation and mobility skills imparted to persons with vision impairment. Through this training, they learn safe techniques to navigate indoor and outdoor environments, cane skills, accessing public transportation and using a guide dog or an electronic aid for navigation assistance.