Freedom and independence mean different things to different people. To a person who is visually impaired it may mean the ability to go to the bank, go shopping unaided or travel to work safely. This means the need to be able to know where they are and to move around safely. These skills are called Orientation and Mobility. Our Orientation and Mobility Practitioners provide long cane, visual skills and daily living skills training to children and adults with visual impairment, at no cost.
Although there is no national blind and partially sighted register in South Africa, at this time it is estimated that approximately 400 000 South Africans could be registered as blind and another 1 000 000 individuals could be registered as partially sighted. Orientation and Mobility Practitioners are trained to teach adults and children with visual impairments the adaptive skills they require, in order to increase their independence.
The Orientation and Mobility Practitioners provide long cane, visual skills and daily living skills training to children and adults with visual impairment, at no cost. They work in communities, to train and raise awareness of the plight of these people can ensure that they have the best chance of being productive members of society. Dignity is a basic human right.
Each qualified O&M Practitioner can train approximately forty to fifty people who are blind or visually impaired in each year of their working life. If a practitioner works for twenty years, he or she can potentially train eight hundred people who are visually impaired. Currently there are no more than sixty practising O&M Practitioners in South Africa, of which, some work part time. Clearly the demand for the services of O&M Practitioners far exceeds the supply
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