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Orientation and Mobility Training

Summary: Our mobility trainers can provide expert training which may help you move around safely and independently.

Personalised training

Our specialist staff offer orientation and mobility training on an individual basis and in groups. Most training takes place in your own locality, with particular emphasis on routes that you choose yourself, for example, from home to school, college or work and also from home to the shops and other social outlets.

Sight loss affects everyone in different ways. Some people may have enough useful vision to move around independently, while others may require a mobility aid such as a long cane. Orientation and mobility training may help you to develop the skills required to move around safely.

What mobility training involves

Our experienced mobility trainer will carry out an assessment of your needs, before coming up with a programme that will identify what routes to work on and whether you would like to use a long cane or make the most of your remaining vision.

The training will show you how to move about safely indoors and outdoors. The mobility trainer might start with something as simple as walking around your garden, which will help to build up your confidence in a safe environment.

The programme might include:

  • Maximising any useful vision;
  • Body, spatial and environmental awareness;
  • Use of sensory clues;
  • Orientation and mobility skills within the home, work, college;
  • Road safety awareness and,
  • Independent travel skills.

Using a long cane

There are different types of canes available. The symbol cane is used to let others know that you have a vision impairment and may need assistance. It is not a mobility aid or physical support. White walking sticks are also available to indicate that you have a vision impairment as well as providing physical support.

The long cane is designed as a mobility device. When learning to use a long cane you will be taught to scan the ground in front of you by sweeping the cane in an arc from side to side along the ground. This technique will help you to locate potential hazards on the ground and will also let you know when you are approaching a kerb or steps, as well as tactile paving to indicate that you are coming to a crossing on the road.

Receiving a long cane

Mobility training is provided free of charge. If you have a vision impairment, you are can receive two long canes per year free of charge from NCBI. Symbol canes and white walking sticks are also available from NCBI free of charge. For more daily living and mobility products, visit our shop online.

Sighted guide

We also provide training to enable sighted people to guide a person with sight loss appropriately. We can provide this training to family members, relatives and friends. Get more information on how to guide a blind person safely.

How can others help?

Adaptations in buildings, public spaces and in cities and towns can make a big difference to people with sight loss. These include:

  • Controlled pedestrian crossings with audible signals.
  • Tactile paving at road crossings.
  • Advanced tactile warnings which warn of forthcoming steps or stairs.
  • Edge on steps painted in contrasting colours.

Members of the public can also help by cutting back overhanging branches and not parking on footpaths or leaving objects like toys or bikes unattended.

Training course

NCBI’s foundation training course offers people with sight loss the chance to build confidence, independence and gain new skills before moving on to further training or education.

For more than 10 years, our training centre has run a foundation course for people with sight loss, offering a range of modules, including daily living and kitchen skills, job seeking advice, computer training, personal development, recreational activities, braille and mobility training.

The foundation course is based in our training centre at our head office in Whitworth Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.

Audio Clip

Listen to an audio file where one long cane user talks about his experiences and the difference that the long cane has made to his life.

Marty Morrissey might be a voice you associate with sporting occasions but he recently visited NCBI’s head office in Drumcondra to find out more about mobility and orientation training and even used a long cane under blindfold. Marty also spoke to long cane users Martina Gibney and Amiee Ryan. You can listen to the segment here: Mobility training on The Mooney Show.

  • White Cane Day 2013

    Find out more about White Cane Day 2013. Marty Morrissey might be a voice you associate with sporting occasions but he recently visited NCBI’s head office in Drumcondra to find out more about mobility and orientation training and even used a long cane under blindfold. Marty also spoke to long cane users Martina Gibney and Amiee Ryan. You can listen to the segment here: Mobility training on The Mooney Show.

  • Apply for mobility training

    If you would like to receive mobility training please contact your local community resource worker, who will put you in touch with your local mobility specialist. A mobility trainer will then call to your home to discuss the types of training you are interested in. 

    To talk to a community resource worker phone our LoCall number 1850 33 43 53.