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The 'Saint Barnabas' School for the Blind
Nicosia, Cyprus
 
Orientation and Mobility

Visually Impaired (VI) people are capable of leading normal and useful lives as others do, but usually they gain their independence after long and hard training. The confidence to move about in safety is the result of a series of Orientation and Mobility lessons, taught by qualified trainers.

In order to succeed in the above objectives, the School for the Blind has included in its syllabus the subject "Orientation and Mobility" for children and adults.  Mobility for blind children:

  • Starts right after birth. It is important that the baby is encouraged to explore the environment and acquire those skills which will later contribute to systematic mobility training. Parents are given the necessary information through the 'Early Intervention' programme, run by the School.
  • Systematic training at Nursery and Elementary School:
    • Body awareness
    • Various concepts
    • Development of Senses
    • Sighted guide skills
    • Guided indoor and outdoor routes
    • Independent indoor routes by using trailing and landmarks
    • Training in the use of the long cane
    • Children are taught several useful routes at the School premises, at home and in housing areas and later at the mainstream school which they are to atten.
     Mobility for children with low vision:
    • Evaluation of what the child can see (objects, obstacles and several other points in the environment).
    • Children are encouraged to use their residual vision where possible.
    • They are taught how to use the white cane and their senses where their sight is not helpful.
    • Information-Collaboration with families: There is a close co-operation between the trainer and the families. Parents are informed about the progress of their child. Very often they watch the training. They are asked to see that their child applies in every day life whatever is taught during training.
     Mobility for adults:
    • An adult is trained in Mobility following the approval of his application by the School.
    • The person is mainly taught the technique of use of the long cane and how to use landmarks and his/her remaining senses in order to determine his/her location and move about.
    • Several routes are taught. They will be useful for fulfillment of everyday needs (work, entertainment etc).
    • Applications for refresher courses or training in new routes needed are usually approved.

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