Determining the Number of Minutes for Cane Travel Instruction Just Got Easier

14 Aug
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Sheena works as the Outreach Specialist for the Institute on Blindness, teaching braille and cane travel as a contractor for several school systems in Northern Louisiana.

Today, we are excited to announce that we have been (and will continue) to develop an additional tool for orientation and mobility instructors, who teach blind and low-vision students how to travel independently, safely and confidently using long white canes. This guide, designed to be an intuitive and interactive worksheet, will aid teachers in determining the amount of lesson time to recommend for each student. Teachers, of course, should continue to use their judgment and students’ individual needs before making a recommendation to the IEP team.)

The National Orientation and Mobility Assessment (NOMA) is a two-part tool developed at Louisiana Tech University to assist school districts and instructors in determining if a student needs orientation and mobility services and what skills should be addressed.

While still in the data collection phase, O&M professionals who are using the assessment in the field have been providing us with valuable feedback. (For that matter, we still invite you to request a copy of the assessment, use it with your students, and share your experiences with us.)

While the NOMA tells professionals if a student would benefit from orientation and mobility services and which areas need to be addressed, but it does not suggest how much time should be put on the IEP. As itinerant cane travel instructors, however, we must recommend how many minutes of cane travel lessons that each student should receive each week.

In an effort to develop guidelines for teachers to use across the country, I have drafted the NOMA Service Time Scale. The scale collects information related to the child’s acuity; field restriction; the NOMA screening inventory; and behaviors displayed in conceptual knowledge, general mobility, orientation and self-confidence.

The recommendations are based partly upon my personal experience, suggestions from other professionals in the field, and the services that adult students receive at training centers such as the Louisiana Center for the Blind. To ensure that teachers do not use the scale as a rigid formula, the tool suggests ranges of minutes.

The NOMA Service Time Scale allows instructors to take students’ ages and skill levels into account. A brand new, pre-kindergarten student, for example, can only retain and actively participate during lessons for a shorter amount of time than a more advanced, high school student. To that end, the tool uses a sliding scale to recommend a range of service and consultation hours for a child’s IEP.

We have been inviting a few teachers to use and critique the NOMA Service Time Scale draft before we released it to the public. We are now expanding that group of teachers, and I am asking for your feedback and information.

Please complete the form below to request a copy of this new tool. We look forward to hearing from you!





Photo: “Downtown Clock” courtesy of Phillip Pessar, on Flickr.

The following two tabs change content below.
Sheena works as the Outreach Specialist for the Institute on Blindness, teaching braille and cane travel as a contractor for several school systems in Northern Louisiana.

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