Orientation and Mobility for Children

Orientation and mobility specialists working with children also assist children with visual impairments to attain the skills they need to live successful lives. The orientation and mobility specialist's responsibilities center mainly on skills such as independent travel and daily living skills. In addition to the typical orientation and mobility sequence, orientation and mobility specialists working with children help children learn fundamental skills that support independence such as gross and fine motor skills, auditory skills, concept development, exploration and curiosity, problem solving and environmental experiential activities.

The majority of clients on an orientation and mobility instructor's caseload tend to have some remaining vision. It is also common for children with visual impairments to also have additional disabilities such as traumatic brain injury, hearing impairments, physical impairments, or cognitive impairments. Many professionals in the field are members of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and are certified by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals that are professional organizations that govern the field. Certification allows an orientation and mobility specialist to work with people across the lifespan, from infants to senior citizens.

Dual major

This degree may be combined with the teaching children with visual impairments master’s degree for a dual major.  The dual major, TCVI/OMC is particularly useful in rural school districts which may have too small a number of students to justify two separate, full-time positions.

More information

For information about the teaching children with visual impairments program, the orientation and mobility program for children or the dual combined master’s programs, contact Dr. Robert Wall Emerson at robert.wall@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3072.


The orientation and mobility for children curriculum consists of 39 credit hours.

The on-campus sequence takes approximately four semesters to complete, and the standard distance education sequence requires six semesters and requires that students attend courses on campus for one six-week summer session.

Below is the list of classes for the orientation and mobility for children program:

  • BLS 5900: Physiology and Function of the Eye (two credits)
  • BLS 5915: Braille for Orientation and Mobility Specialists (one credit)
  • BLS 5920: Orientation and Mobility with Children (three credits)
  • BLS 5950: Methods of Orientation and Mobility/Intro Mobility-Blind (four credits)
  • BLS 5960: Electronic Devices (one credit)
  • BLS 5970: Principles of Low Vision (two credits)
  • BLS 6010: Small N Research (three credits)
  • BLS 6030: Development Through the Lifespan (three credits)
  • BLS 6040: Issues in Independent Travel (two credits)
  • BLS 6050: Practice in Low Vision (one credit)
  • BLS 6060: Adaptive Sports and Art Activities for VI Children (one credit)
  • BLS 6100: Assisted Research (two credits)
  • BLS 6610: Itinerant and Effective School Collaboration (three credits)
  • BLS 6940: Principles of Orientation and Mobility (three credits)
  • BLS 6950: Practicum in Orientation and Mobility (two credits)
  • BLS 7120: Internship in Orientation and Mobility (six credits)