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Vocational Rehab Orientation & Mobility Community Resources for COVID-19

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Distance Education Resources

United States Department of Education - Office for Civil Rights

Future in Sight

  • Future in Sight Orientation and Mobility Specialists Michael Mulligan and Kelly Spain introduce a series of VLOGS that will start airing next month. They plan to cover many topics including visual impairment navigational tools, technology, and resources.  Stay Tuned!

    Take me to the Future in Sight YouTube page

Paths to Literacy

California Association of Orientation & Mobility Specialists (CAOMS)

  • Carlton Anne Cook Walker to California Association of Orientation and Mobility Specialists: Office of Civil Rights-Schools Must Not Violate Civil Rights When Responding to COVID-19 Concerns

    Thank you to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights! This fine agency has reiterated the law regarding accessible online learning and explicitly states that schools must follow civil rights laws even in times of emergency. OCR also issued guidance on IEP and Evaluation timelines.
    Find out more

  • Mary Schultz-ObjectiveEd
    Distance Learning for BVI students during crisis
    To help students with visual impairments during this crisis, we are providing free access to our digital curriculum to schools and teachers to use with their students through the end of the current 2019/2020 school year.
    Here’s a quick video that describes how ObjectiveEd works

    To get started with ObjectiveEd, visit:

Helen Keller National Center

HKNC Announces Free Access to E-Learning Opportunities for Families & Support Providers

Please contact your HKNC regional representative or email us at if you are interested in these or any of our other classes at the link below:

  • Inclusive Communication

    This class provides an overview of alternate communication strategies and systems for individuals who are deaf-blind with intellectual disabilities. These Strategies and tools include object symbols, schedule books, communication cards, picture cures, and basic tactile sign language. Participants will learn how and where to effectively use these tools so that they can increase communication and socialization with individuals who are deaf-blind and provide a life that offers true inclusion.


  • Personal Futures Planning

    This class provides an overview of Personal Futures Planning and how to apply this technique with individuals who are deaf-blind with intellectual disabilities. The process of discovering opportunities and capacities for the focus person is discussed.  Participants will learn strategies to discover and document preferences and successfully translate them into meaningful vocational and leisure experiences. The various components of a functional program are described.  Short video clips are included to help illustrate the application of personal futures planning.




Remote O&M Instruction Ideas


Sensory Skills

  • Listening outdoors for a period of time and having learner report what they heard
  • Clapping hands in different sized rooms in a house to see how the size of room changes sounds.
  • “Sensory Adventure” around the house and backyard. What did you find for each of your senses (auditory, tactile, visual, olfactory, kinesthetic, proprioceptive)?


Apps, Devices, Etc.

  • Planning travel, such as the student using their smartphone to plan routes, public transportation options, etc.
  • Listening to podcasts related to using apps; can be listened to with a learner or shared as an assignment. (Google search for them, YouTube collections from Hadley, Schools for the Blind, App developers web sites, etc.)
  • Comparing apps like TapTapSee, Microsoft Seeing AI, and Be My Eyes to determine which provides information that is the most helpful for them, how easy they are to use their features, etc.
    • Practice scanning barcodes
    • Practice scanning documents, menus, directories, etc. (items to scan can be downloaded and printed at home and then scanned)
  • Virtually exploring home neighborhoods with Nearby Explorer from APH (free version available) or Google Maps with Street View.
  • Microsoft Soundscape is a beacon GPS that also calls out the names of streets, the direction of travel, and POIs. This could be used on a walk or in a car with headphones. You can also add your own audio beacon.
    Visit Microsoft Soundscape

  • Google Maps now has detailed walking directions
    Visit Google Maps blog

  • Lazarillo GPS is free and available on both iOS and Android devices:

  • Working with Amazon Alexa:

  • Ideas for orientation and mobility lessons that can be done remotely. It’s an active editable Google doc where people are adding ideas on Lesson topics and strategies for teaching orientation and mobility instruction remotely:


General Ideas and Resources for Learning and Practicing

  • Comparing the use of taxi, Transportation Network Companies (TNC) such as Uber and Lyft, Bus, and walking. Include topics on fares/financial cost, time, situations where each may be helpful.

    Finding Wheels Curriculum (if you can find the book on eBay or other used sites); the new edition is nearing publication.

  • Asking parents to facilitate students making tactile maps of their room, home, etc. (this might be with construction paper, dry noodles, Elmer’s glue, etc.)

  • Asking parents to hold the camera on a computer or smart device connecting with Zoom so that you can encourage the development of skills like upper and lower body protective techniques.

  • Concepts that can be taught remotely over the phone, Zoom, etc.

    • Parallel/Perpendicular

    • Odd/Even for address systems

    • Intersection basics

    • Cardinal directions and clock-face orientation

  • Problem Solving Journal (you supply the scenario and the student records their answer that is shared back with you in a journal entry)

    • Here are a few ideas for problem-solving scenarios:

      • What would you do if you become disoriented while traveling (e.g. in a mall, residential area, while using public transportation, etc., based on student’s functional level)?

      • What would you do if someone on the bus was asking for lots of personal information, especially information you did not feel comfortable sharing with that individual?

      • What would you do if you were trying to reach a destination and found that the sidewalk you were traveling on had an unexpected construction barrier that prevented you from traveling further along the sidewalk you were on?

      • What would you do if your phone battery died and you still had to travel home in unfamiliar territory, possibly even needing to use public transportation?

      • What would you do if while traveling in the community your cane broke?

      • What would you do if you’re at school waiting 15 minutes for the bus or your parents to pick you and they don’t show up?

  • Freedom Scientific is offering those in the US and Canada a Free Home License of JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion which will expire June 30, 2020.
  • Keeping Connected while Staying Apart by Temple University Collaborative Community Inclusion for Individuals with Mental Illnesses:

  • Accessibility Switchboard and National Federation of the Blind:
  • Collection Spotlight from National Rehabilitation Information Center:


Resources for Small Businesses During COVID-19

Business Enterprise Program and Small Business Owners:

The Washington State BEP Committee Chair and Vice-Chair offer good information from the perspective of peer small business owners on navigating the resources available to businesses and staff, and considerations for post-COVID-19 ways to do business. The YouTube audio is 22 minutes: