Phase III: Orientation and Mobility Lesson in a Familiar Area

Tips, Tricks, Modifications and Strategies

Phase III: Orientation and Mobility Lesson in a Familiar Area

May 15, 2020

Creating materials for students with CVI is always fun for me and I often wish I had more time to be creative.  During these days of social distancing, I finally have some time to create all of the materials and books that have been on my, “To Do” list.  I will be posting photos of materials, along with tips, tricks, modifications and strategies regarding materials created in the hope that you too will try your hand at making some unique, child-specific materials for your student or child.  When appropriate, I will offer templates and other materials for you to use, to complete the project as well.

For this post, I will be sharing my interpretation of an idea Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy recently shared.  While discussing ideas for materials to use during Orientation and Mobility lessons, Dr. Roman suggested use of a representative “map” of a familiar area, such as the student’s front yard, house, driveway and backyard, to teach concepts such as moving along a route, demonstrating understanding of “right” and “left”, “in front of”, “in back of” and the ability to visually travel by (and visually process) landmarks.  For more information on Orientation and Mobility for students with CVI, you are encouraged to attend the TSBVI Coffee Hour on May 27 at 10:00 AM CT or read Chapter 6 in Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles, by Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, APH Press (2018).

What you will need to create this O&M map/activity:

  • A backlit surface such as an APH Lightbox, iPad app (the app I use is called, “Lightbox”) or an LED Light Box Tracer. The LED Light Box Tracer is what I used for this demonstration and it’s photographed below ( *affiliate income)
  • Cut out shapes/representative symbols or icons for landmarks and environmental features
  • Crisp, clear photographs of familiar landmarks and/or environmental features (if needed)
  • Office Depot Shipping Labels (8 ½ X 11 inches), or another premium full sheet shipping label *affiliate income
  • Heavy card stock or tagboard
  • Black electrical tape
  • Translucent sheet to cover Lightbox (comes with the APH LightBox materials)

To create this Orientation and Mobility “map”, you will need to begin by choosing a location that is not only familiar to your student but also a location that you want to teach your student orientation and mobility lessons around.  This might be his or her familiar front yard and backyard, a school setting or a familiar park.  Once the area is determined, pick out several familiar landmarks at this location.  You will recreate these familiar landmarks by either using a crisp, clear photograph of them (cut out and mounted on heavy card stock) or you will use symbols or icons which represent the landmarks.  Having a clear understanding of your student’s CVI Range score will help to determine how you represent the landmarks and routes, as well as how many icons or symbols you use in the array.

Above, LED Light Box Tracer turned on.  Silhouettes of house and garage clearly shown as well as the “window cling” shapes (icons).

Above, LED Light Box Tracer turned off.  Photographic images of house and garage clearly shown and salient features can be discussed.  The “window cling” shapes (icons) still stand out due to their bright colors.

For my example above, the high Phase II student I plan to use this with needs color photographs of his familiar home and garage, but I’ve used symbols (or icons) to represent landmarks that are in his side yard and backyard.  For these icons, I have chosen to use “window clings” because they really show up when backlit and they really do “cling” to the surface of the map.

The icons represent the following;

Green joined “shamrocks” = 3 tall Italian Cypress trees which are on the left side of the driveway, lining it

Red, long rectangular or pole shape = Basketball hoop and stand which is on the right side of the garage in the far backyard

Blue round ball = circular trampoline which is on the far-right side of the backyard

As noted above, I’ve used an LED Light Box Tracer to illuminate my transparent “map”.  Since my student has difficulty with visual fatigue, he often benefits from backlighting.  In addition, he still has some challenges with complexity.  Therefore, I have started out with only 3 icons, along with the 2 familiar photographs, to limit the complexity of the array.  More icons representing landmarks can be added as he demonstrates an understanding and visual processing of the original icons/landmarks.  Later, as he moves into Phase III, the different icons can be switched out for identical icons (such as all small red squares).  By identifying what each icon represents, he will be demonstrating that he understands that icon’s location (and thus, what it is) in relation to other landmarks and objects in his yard.

I printed my photographs of the house and garage on Label Paper using my color printer.  Once they were affixed to heavy card stock, I carefully cut out their shapes and affixed them to my map with double stick tape.  I used narrow, black electrician’s tape to create the route to get from the front yard and driveway to the backyard.

Since my student especially has difficulty visually locating the basketball pole and hoop, we will work on discussing the salient features of this landmark, including the pointing out the red hoop.  I have a photograph of the basketball hoop and stand on my iPad and my student can zoom in to look at each specific salient feature.

Please note: One or more of the links noted on this blog are affiliate links.  This simply means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at NO EXTRA cost to you.  As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


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