Specialist Training Program Visual Impairments and Blindness KHC1070 | (323) 343-4411 | FAX (323) 343-5605
Historically, independent travel for individuals who were blind was not widely achieved or
expected. Prior to World War II, no formal training of specialists in the field of
Orientation and Mobility(O & M) existed and few agencies and schools provided more than
rudimentary instruction in independent travel for individuals with visual impairments.
Early orientation and mobility training was typically limited to the environment of the
During World War II, methods were developed to enhance the rehabilitation of blinded
veterans. The Veterans Administration's highly successful efforts and the high level of
performance of rehabilitated veterans resulted in a surge of interest in independent
orientation and mobility for individuals with visual impairments. The first university
training program in the area of orientation and mobility was started in 1960 and the
positive performance of the graduate trained instructors and the blind students with whom
they worked resulted in a growing demand for services and an expanding need for instructors.
Since the 1960's, orientation and mobility has been consistently identified as a key
service area for individuals who are blind and visually impaired.
The majority of Orientation and Mobility Training Programs are offered at the graduate level, but the
number of specialized programs (graduate and undergraduate) available within the United
States ranges between 15 -18. Some Orientation and Mobility Training Programs are housed
within Special Education Programs while others are offered through Programs in