How to Increase Academic Performance through Orientation and Mobility

Academic performance is at the heart of every piece of data that our administrators collect. 

We know it's not their fault. They need to prove that we are doing our jobs. But our job, although arguably the most important educational component to any student/ client/ consumer's curriculum, is not always seen as the pivotal piece. 

Often, as related service staff for a low incidence population, our bosses don't even know what we do. 

Again, it's not their fault. They have probably never been an Orientation and Mobility Specialist before. Their demands are heavy, and their needs are great. But the amount of students with visual impairments on their caseloads? Probably pretty minimal. 

For this week's teaching tip, I am offering something for not just YOU, to remind you of how good of a job you are doing, but something for your boss as well. 

Maybe they would like a fresh perspective on the implications of what you do. 

Maybe they are curious as to how they can support you, but they don't have enough time to research our field enough to know where to start. 

Orientation and Mobility services increase academic performance from the foundational perspective. While this may not seem to impact the data that comes across your desk, Orientation and Mobility does impact academic performance.

Here are four examples of how Orientation and Mobility increases academic performance:

  1. Incorporating Proprioceptive and Vestibular awareness skills so that the student can focus on the academic skills at hand.

  2. Teaching the brain how to get out of a room and the layout of the room, so the brain can again focus on the academic tasks in front of them.

  3. Teaching the student how to pick up their cane, get out of the classroom, and travel to another class so they cut down on academic time wasted traveling.

  4. Decreasing learned helplessness so the student can travel to work and within a university campus, which ultimately allows the student to reach their transition goals.

Here is a quick video that explains the concepts better: 

For us to really understand how Orientation and Mobility allows our students to increase their academic performance, we must first look at the Sensory Integration Pyramid. 

The foundational aspects of the pyramid begin with the senses and our bodily systems, then it moves up to sensory and perceptual motor development. ALL of these aspects are areas that we, as O&M Specialists, are responsible for. 

Without proper development in these foundational areas, academic learning will be negatively impacted. 

So take a bow. YOU help facilitate the development of each of these areas. EVERY DAY. 

This isn't just for kids, either. People who are going through vision loss later in life or people who are going through O&M programs taught by rehabilitation centers also have performance measures they need to attain. 

If your agency wants more information about the symposium, please give them this flyer. Let them know they can access the website or email me. 

How do you see Orientation and Mobility affecting Academic Performance?