Tommy started Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training very young. It began with “bumpers up” or walking with his hands raised in front of him for protection and exploration. Push toys were among his first O&M tools (pre-cane) and he loved them. He was a little terror rolling around our home. It was so cool to see him explore his environment and have full run of the house. He had our cats running for their lives! Okay, maybe they just shifted out of his way at the last second, once they realized he was coming straight for them. That’s what actually happened.
He began official O&M training when he turned two and got a new TVI (Teacher of the Visually Impaired) who was certified in O&M. We did two visits with him a week: one of pre-braille at home and one of O&M at the mall. Tom loved being out at the mall but he didn’t always love the O&M training. It was hard work! But it has really paid off and today Tom is quite good with his cane. He takes it everywhere now. One very useful thing about the cane is that it lets other people know that Tommy is blind. This keeps people from stepping on him. Without a cane they can’t understand why he didn’t get out of their way!
Here’s Tommy at the mall with us last week. He’s walking down the same halls he used to with his old O&M! And all he wants to do is go to Macy’s so he can ride the escalator. He LOVES elevators and escalators. It keeps him happy at the mall and it’s great fun to be able to enjoy the mall with him. He is a shopper!