September 16-22, 2018 (All day)
The main objective of Guide Dogs for the Blind's Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Immersion Program is to assist people wanting to work with a guide dog to develop those O&M skills most relevant to guide dog mobility. In this exciting program, GDB partners with the LightHouse and O&M professionals to offer the Immersion Program.
During the six-day course, based in our residential facilities in Downtown San Francisco, clients receive an average of 25 instructional hours in O&M skills with a 1:1 student/O&M instructor ratio. Each O&M specialist has undergone training with Guide Dogs for the Blind to prepare them to instruct students who have a guide dog mobility goal.
Since the skills taught during the course are aimed to assist clients to travel independently with a guide dog, they involve less tactile input than cane travel. The skills covered in the course include:
- Increasing awareness of environmental information
- Developing an understanding of how to use auditory information like traffic sounds to remain oriented and to achieve correct alignment during general travel and street crossings
- Teaching how to use auditory information to analyze different types of intersections and determine the best time to initiate street crossings
- Developing the ability to estimate the distance walked relative to the time taken (time-distance estimation)
- Maximizing the use of residual vision (if applicable) through proper scanning techniques and developing an understanding of how residual vision can impact guide dog travel