Orientation & Mobility Made Fun

Orientation & Mobility Made Fun

In one of my school districts we were fortunate to have the Elementary, Middle and High School within a block of each other. In addition, there was a grocery store and many other stores that we could travel to and practice our O&M skills (orientation & mobility-cane skills). I selected days to go shopping with the whole class. We would make a grocery list. Some of the students chose to put the list on their Braille Notes, others practiced brailling it on a piece of paper and took the list with them. The advantage of the braille note is, the students were able to keep mathematical track of the cost of our purchases: adding in a math lesson also. Whatever we bought, we would take back to school and cook.

These were always multifaceted lessons: Making the lists, walking there, learning to pay with money and credit cards, walking back, cooking the food, and socializing. The buying and cooking would happen on different days, so the lesson could be accomplished within 1.5 hours. The older students would mentor the younger students, and all learned how to purchase products and use money. It really gave the students examples of real life experiences.

Another huge advantage of mentoring is the younger students get to see how quickly the older students accomplish their skills: whether walking, brailling, reading, or accessing the computer. Likewise, some of the older students who walked very slowly increased their speed significantly and by the end of the school year were walking as fast as the others, so they too could keep up and socialize as they progressed down the streets.

We all need each other to learn about the best we each have to offer, and in the process improve our own skills.

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