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ERIC Number: ED531845
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Aug
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
The Importance of Orientation and Mobility Skills for Students Who Are Deaf-Blind. Revised
Gense, D. Jay; Gense, Marilyn
National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who Are Deaf-Blind
Children learn about their environment as they move through it--about people and objects, sizes, shapes, and distances. For typically developing children the senses of sight and hearing provide the greatest motivation for exploration. These children will use their vision and hearing to gather information about their surroundings while growing in understanding of their own bodies and their own capabilities of movement. The sight of toys or people and the sounds of voices or objects encourage them to move and discover. As they do so, they gather, recognize, and interpret an amazing array of sensory information. A child who is deafblind must learn to understand his or her environment with minimal or distorted visual and auditory information. Limited sight and/or hearing may inhibit natural curiosity and the motivation to move about. As a group, learners who are deaf-blind are quite diverse and may include children with physical, cognitive, or health problems in addition to combined hearing and vision losses. Some may feel insecure or frightened when moving about in an environment they can neither see nor hear clearly. Others may run on the track team or use motorized wheel chairs. Some communicate with speech or sign language, while others may not have had enough experiences in the environment to understand even basic concepts about that environment or about objects found in it. It is essential that children who are deaf-blind receive learning opportunities and instruction that facilitate purposeful movement. Orientation and Mobility (O&M) instruction provides students who are deafblind with a set of foundational skills to use residual visual, auditory and other sensory information to under stand his or her environment. For the child who is deaf-blind, movement is an opportunity to gather sensory information, to communicate, and to make choices. O&M instruction provides opportunities and skills that can broaden the student's awareness of the environment, resulting in increased motivation, independence and safety. This paper provides information about O&M instruction. "Working with Interpreters," a short article by David Miller, is also included. (Contains 1 footnote, 7 figures, and 11 additional resources.)
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness. Teaching Research Institute Western Oregon University 345 North Monmouth Avenue, Monmouth, OR 97361. Tel: 800-438-9376; Fax: 503-838-8150; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS)
Authoring Institution: National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who Are Deaf-Blind