Texas Tech University

Students Spend Hours Blindfolded To Become Orientation and Mobility Specialists

Allison Hirth & Jeff Ramazani

July 12, 2017


(VIDEO) More than 20 students from across the country practiced their cane skills as part of the College of Education's Orientation and Mobility Program.

The program lasts only five weeks but in that short time, sighted students learn what it's like to live with a visual impairment. It's part of Texas Tech University's Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Program, which is available once every summer through the College of Education and is one of only two O&M programs offered in Texas.

Nearly two dozen students used a cane under blindfold to maneuver through buildings, navigate neighborhoods and cross busy intersections. Once they've completed the course, the students will become certified Orientation and Mobility specialists and can teach those with blindness or low vision how to travel safely, confidently and independently in their environment.

"As a teacher, you can tell somebody how it should be done," said Julie Greenleaf, a special education teacher from Georgia enrolled in the course. "But then when you're under blindfold, you really learn those important things. Having the experience as a teacher and somebody under blindfold is really important."

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