How Orientation and Mobility Increases Academic Performance

How Orientation and Mobility Increases Academic Performance

Do you have Orientation and Mobility Specialists who work for you, but you aren’t 100% sure what they do?

Orientation and Mobility Specialists teach people with visual impairments how to travel. But there is so much more. However, given the low incidence rate of students with visual impairments, these related service personnel are often the only ones that do what they do in any given district.

Today we are chatting about:

  1. What is Orientation and Mobility?

  2. How can Orientation and Mobility services increase academic performance?

  3. How can I support the Orientation and Mobility Specialists who work for me?

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What is BlindSquare and what makes it different from Google Maps?

“But, Kass. This app is $40!” you say. “What is BlindSquare and what makes it different from using Google Maps?”, you’ve asked.

I hear you. The BlindSquare app isn’t free. And yes, you do have a generic maps application on your smart phone. You very well can use that.

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How I use BlindSquare to help my students travel in unfamiliar places

How I use BlindSquare to help my students travel in unfamiliar places

New and Experienced O&M Specialists, if you want to  help your student get around their neighborhood or even a complex area with less help. Maybe they need a little bit of help to get from their house to their school, but mostly, if they are checking out a new area and want more information.

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Are you interested in being on the International Orientation and Mobility Online Symposium Planning Committee?

Are you interested in being on the International Orientation and Mobility Online Symposium Planning Committee?

The time has come, my friends! It's time to start planning the next International Orientation and Mobility Online Symposium! 

Are you interested in making a real difference in the world? Do you want to help students with visual impairments from all over the world? We urge you to apply to join the International Orientation and Mobility Online Symposium's Planning Committee. 

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Updated information for Participants!

    As we have grown from a tiny idea in my head to a very formidable international conference, we have had a lot of systems to master. So, some things have changed.

    Some new information was solidified just today (seriously, like 4PM CST) that I just HAD to let you know about. Hopefully this information helps you make your decisions. Here are some updates as clear and concise as I can muster. 

We will be using Adobe Connect for our presentations. It is an easy platform that you can simply download as you sign in to the room for the first time. (I suggest downloading it in advance so you can get in the live room on time). 

 You will have the option to see the presenter, the slides, the caption box, the chat box, and access the files right on your screen. You can maximize any of the aforementioned parts of the presentation at your own will. 

You will be able to watch the replay videos until Sunday night at Midnight, EST. We will send you a link to a private website address (please do not give this website address out) where the replay video will be hosted. In order to sign in, you will need to email our representative with your full name, and the session you watched. 

Don't worry, the information will be on the website and replay email. 

We can only have 100 people in our Adobe Connect room at any one time. If you want to attend a session live, we simply ask that you come in to the room early so you can have a spot. If the chat room is closed, you will be guided to a private webpage to watch the live stream. This may be a good option for those of you who are not planning on chatting in the chat box. 

We will be switching your customer account from Allied Independence to TSBVI's ESCWorks. Switching allows us to host the videos for longer than 24 hours, so yeah... totally worth it. 

You do not have to do a thing. I am personally going to transfer everything to protect your information. 

Your new account in ESCWorks will be available after Friday, January 12. Your password will be your email name (not including the domain). If your email address is, then your password will be abracadabra123. If I have an issue, I will email you personally. 

As always, neither Allied Independence or TSBVI will ever give or sell your information to any other party. We honor your confidentiality.  

Thank you for your continued support of this wonderfully innovative and boundary-pushing event! We are changing so many "norms". I am so proud to know each and every one of you! 

Be on the lookout for more information as we get everything up and running for you. 

So much love,

Are You Doing These 4 Things In Order to Best Serve Your Students


It's time for a gut check. Are you doing these four things in order to best serve your students?

Let's face it. We don't show up to work for ourselves. We have our own independence already. We show up to work for our students. For their lives. For THEIR independence. We work day in and day out so our students can have more independence and lead more fulfilling lives.

In order to fully serve them, we need to be doing these four things. Every year. Every quarter. Every month. It is our responsibility to stay on top of these four things in order for us to best serve them. 

If they don't feel independent, if THEY don't feel like they are making strides towards being their most successful selves, then WE aren't doing our jobs well. And we do not pride ourselves on not doing our jobs well. You wouldn't be reading this if you settled for less than your best. 

Four Things To Do In Order to Best Serve Your Students

1. Practice what you preach. Do you practice what you preach? Do you walk down the sidewalk with your phone in your hand? Are you texting? Do you have both earbuds in? We all do it. I know I do. Sometimes I have to send a text and I have to be somewhere else at the same time. 

If we can't get our acts together to travel safely. Then we definitely can't expect THEM to. Not to mention that they have so much more to pay attention to while they are traveling. If we can't be the role models for them, then they are not going to do it.


If you are having trouble getting your students to put their earbuds down, use their canes correctly, or travel safely, then maybe we need to look at your own travel behaviors. Maybe they saw you from a distance, or maybe they know you are texting and walking.

To take it one step further, try incorporating a modeling cane while you are teaching. I have been using a model cane with many more younger students this year and I have seen a lot more success with their cane skills. I got that idea from my coworker who is visually impaired. I noticed that the students were traveling much better with her than they ever had with me. Once I started using my own cane on our lessons, their cane skills have really improved. 

2. Stay current. Our entire profession is less than 100 years old. Think about how far we have come in such a short period of time. We have done GOOD with furthering our techniques, strategies, and tools. Things change all of the time. If you aren't not staying current with what is out there, then you are automatically falling behind.

You have to show up to work every day, no matter what. Why not just go the extra mile and be the best you can be so your students can be the best they can be.

3. Professional Development. Are you going to conferences or seminars? Are you reading blogs or articles? There are so many professional development opportunities around you. Whether it is in person or online. 

I know your time is precious. I know you may have to cancel students and make up those students.

Think about it. At the very least you will walk away with a few really good ideas. If you go to a conference and walk out with only ONE new great idea, it can change the trajectory of your entire teaching. I know it has for me. 

4. Try new things. Let's say somebody comes to you and says "This new cane skill, zippity-boppity-boo (I just made that up), has been working. Maybe you try it out. Maybe you look in to it a little more.

Sometimes we can get so stuck in our ways. We can get so stuck in "This is how you use this skill." or "This is the type of student I use this type of skill with". I know that it's easier. 

If you challenge yourself to try new things. YOU are going to become better. Moreover, your students are going to become better. They are going to become better travelers. They are going to become more successful in the world. 

Sometimes our students just need a new way of thinking about things in order for it to click for them. 

If you jive with this, then you will LOVE the content available in the International Orientation and Mobility Symposium!

Which of these four ideas are you going to try this week? Let's all become better Orientation and Mobility Specialists! 

Cutting Edge Cane Tchnology for Toddlers

Cutting Edge Cane Tchnology for Toddlers

We all know that mobility first starts with the ability to feel safe. Without the feeling of safety, motor development comes to a vault. Troster and Brambring proved this point long ago.

Find out about a new innovative Cane that allows your toddler to explore their world while feeling safe in their movements! 

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