Orientation and mobility training for adults with low vision: a new standardized approach

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Abstract

Background:

Orientation and mobility training aims to facilitate independent functioning and participation in the community of people with low vision.

Objective:

(1) To gain insight into current practice regarding orientation and mobility training, and (2) to develop a theory-driven standardized version of this training to teach people with low vision how to orientate and be safe in terms of mobility.

Study of current practice:

Insight into current practice and its strengths and weaknesses was obtained via reviewing the literature, observing orientation and mobility training sessions (n = 5) and interviewing Dutch mobility trainers (n = 18). Current practice was mainly characterized by an individual, face-to-face orientation and mobility training session concerning three components: crystallizing client's needs, providing information and training skills. A weakness was the lack of a (structured) protocol based on evidence or theory.

New theory-driven training:

A new training protocol comprising two face-to-face sessions and one telephone follow-up was developed. Its content is partly based on the components of current practice, yet techniques from theoretical frameworks (e.g. social-cognitive theory and self-management) are incorporated.

Discussion:

A standardized, tailor-made orientation and mobility training for using the identification cane is available. The new theory-driven standardized training is generally applicable for teaching the use of every low-vision device. Its acceptability and effectiveness are currently being evaluated in a randomized controlled trial.

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