What does our Orientation & Mobility department do?
What is the function of the Orientation & Mobility (O&M) department?
The function of the O&M department can be divided into two distinct roles.
Firstly, there is a College which is a tertiary facility that is accredited with the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA). We provide training for one specific qualification: the National Diploma in Orientation and Mobility Practice.
Qualified students assist the visually impaired by teaching them how to use a long cane and other useful skills of daily living. The qualified students are called Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Practitioners, and are employed by other NGOs to provide services to the visually impaired community.
The Association also employs a team of six qualified O&M Practitioners, who provide support to people with visual impairment in the Gauteng province. We are currently training O&M Practitioners who will be employed in Durban and Cape Town, so that we can provide services nationally.
What are the different roles in the department and what do they do?
When the students are on our campus, facilitators provide the theoretical and practical training required. They lecture, assess and take the students to various external areas to train or receive specialist lectures from audiologists, optometrists or other medical professionals.
When the students are working in the community and training people, the facilitators visit them to supervise the activities. This means our staff will travel wherever the student is in the country and will stay there for a week at a time.
Our Practitioners make appointments, attend meetings and submit planning and paperwork. They also train clients in their designated areas.
The clients they train have been referred to us from optometrists, other NGOs, clinics or they may have contacted us directly. The Practitioner arranges an appointment to visit the person in their home.
They will then assess the person’s needs and requirements, draw up a training programme and set up appointments for training. This is usually twice a week, will take place in the client’s home and is free of charge.
We also provide any assistive devices that may be needed, such as a long cane. This training will continue until the client has reached their goals.
How can you support our team?
If you know of anyone who is visually impaired and is not able to move around without constant assistance from someone else, or if they specifically want to learn how to use a long cane, please refer them to us.
If you know of a visually impaired person who could benefit from learning how to complete everyday tasks independently, for example, food preparation and cooking or any other daily task they may feel they would like to be able to do, contact us.
We would like to spread the word that our services are available free of charge, in our client’s home environment
To be able to offer these services at no cost, you could assist us by investing in our Association or by sponsoring an assistive device through our website. The private sector can support us through a sponsorship for the costs of training one of our students.
For more information or to get involved with our O&M Department, please contact Grace on GraceM@guidedog.org.za or give us a call on 011 705 3512.