Expanded Core Curriculum: Orientation & mobility in every step

Lessons that give students the skills and confidence they need to get to where they’re going.

Student practices white cane technique as her orientation and mobility instructor observes.

Orientation & mobility (O&M) is one of nine life skills kids with visual impairments and multiple disabilities learn through the Expanded Core Curriculum at Perkins. Put simply, O&M is the art and science of teaching people who are blind or visually impaired where they are in space (orientation) and how to travel independently (mobility).

Here’s a short look at how we teach it, and a bit more about why it’s such an integral part of the Expanded Core Curriculum.

Why is orientation & mobility so important?

Orientation & mobility is a huge factor in how people with visual impairments can lead independent lives. It helps them get to work or class on their own, to get around a grocery story or simply go for a walk, safely, without needing help from another person. And all people, whether they use a white cane, wheelchair, guide dog, or some sort of assistive technology, can build critical O&M skills for getting around on their own.

How is orientation & mobility taught?

What is the Expanded Core Curriculum?

The Expanded Core Curriculum is built of of nine life skills Perkins students with visual impairments, deafblindness and additional disabilities learn on top of their core academics. It covers everything from using technology to independent living to socializing with peers — knowledge most sighted children acquire by observing everyday life. The Expanded Core Curriculum gives students who are blind, deafblind and have additional disabilities a toolbox of crucial skills they need to succeed at school, in social situations, at home, on the job and everywhere else.

Photo of Jonathan Hooper with tech-themed background.

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PIAF machine: A "P" alphabet braille page (pig with braille and print letter P) being entered into a PIAF machine.

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