Orientation and Mobility Specialist

What We Do



A certified orientation and mobility specialists (O&M) is that part of the educational process that prepares students with visual impairments to travel independently and safely. O&M is one of the nine areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) required to be evaluated for students with visual impairments.  The itinerant O&M specialist travels to the students’ assigned schools and/or home to provide direct and/or consultative services relating to the visual impairment. These services enable the students to travel safely, efficiently, and independently in their home, school, and community environments. The students range in age from birth through 21 years.  The students may or may not have additional disabilities. The cognitive levels of the students range from severely impaired to gifted and talented. Many students with visual impairments are totally included in their neighborhood schools. Others are in special programs in their neighborhood schools or at various campuses throughout the district. Community-based instruction is assumed and a critical component of the O&M program.  It is often necessary for instruction to occur off-campus, so the need for transportation for this community-based instruction is important.


The certified orientation and mobility specialist is also responsible for preparing documents to be presented at the student’s ARD/IEP meetings; developing the goals and objectives; implementing goals and objectives; keeping documentation of progress on the child’s goals and objectives; collaborating with general and special education teachers; preparing progress reports, and for retiring goals and objectives upon their completion.



Major Responsibilities and Duties:


·         The certified orientation and mobility specialist day consist of 8.5 hours with a 30 minute lunch.  COMS can start their day at one of the following places (COMS office, school campus, or a student’s home) 

·         COMS are required to sign in when they go to any campus on the (red) clip board and sign in when they are at the COMS office portable 

·         COMS are required to keep a weekly schedule of where they have been for the week.  All changes and cancellations must be noted on the schedule that they turn in at the end of the week

·         All weekly paperwork must be turned in on Fridays

·         COMS will review students ARD’d services to develop a weekly schedule

·         COMS will arrive on time to provide services to students and collaborate service times with the classroom teacher to reduce any conflicts with general instruction and to facilitate integrated instruction

·         COMS will make up any time that needs to be rescheduled

·         COMS will provide accurate documentation of visits on weekly documentation log.  Logs must be filled out with all of the required student information (Student Name, ID#, TX Unique ID#, Grade, School, Date,)

·         COMS will provide accurate documentation and a  description of instructional services provided to each student on their weekly logs

·         COMS will provide accurate documentation of all mileage on mileage log

·         COMS  will communicate with related service providers  and students teachers and provide a schedule to them for their student

·         COMS will have a separate folder for each student with the following included:

1.       Parent contact log

2.       Most recent copy of the student eye exam

3.       Copy of the PLAAFP statement

4.       Copy of the most recent FIE on file

5.       Copy of Goals & Objectives

6.       The TVI teacher will complete monthly SHARS/Medicaid on each student by using (www.TASB.org/smartlogin)

·         Instruct students with visual impairments in skills and knowledge that enable them to travel independently based on the IEP

·         Teach students to travel with proficiency, safety, and confidence in familiar and unfamiliar environments

·         Prepare sequential and meaningful instruction geared to the student’s assessed needs, IEP goals and objectives, functioning level, and motivation level

·         Be responsible for the student’s safety during O&M instruction and in other environments while fostering maximum independence during O&M lessons

·         Prepare and use equipment and materials, such as tactile maps, models, optical devices, pre-canes, GPS devices, and long canes for the development of O&M skills

·         Provide orientation of new buildings and new class schedules to students with visual impairments as needed, including those community settings where students receive instruction




1.       Perform orientation and mobility evaluations that focus on long- and short-term needs of the student for new referrals and at intervals as designated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

2.       Identify the needs and strengths of the student and an estimate of the length and frequency of service necessary to meet determined needs and include such information in the assessment report

  1. Interpret medical eye reports as they relate to educational environments and students Functional Leaning Media Assessments or other reports available

4.       Contribute to other appropriate portions of the IEP, such as goals and recommendations

5.       Provide consultation and support services to parents, educators, other team members, and students’ sighted peers

6.       Confer regularly with parents, classroom teachers, physical education teachers, physical therapists, and other school personnel to assist in home and classroom modifications to ensure reinforcement of appropriate O&M skills that will encourage the student who is visually impaired to travel independently in these settings and in the future

7.       Work with the teacher of students with visual impairments to conduct the functional vision assessment as it relates to independent travel Evaluate the student’s progress on an ongoing basis and keep progress notes on each student


  1. Contribute to the development of the IEP with recommendations for goals, modifications, and learning styles
  2. Provide screening and referral procedures to appropriate personnel
  3. Recommend appropriate specialized evaluations and assessments, such as for low vision, orientation and mobility, psychosocial, and adaptive physical education
  4. Consult with diagnosticians, classroom teachers, students, and parents concerning appropriate evaluations, modifications, and test administrations
  5. Be knowledgeable about possible modifications for statewide testing, and arrange for necessary modifications.
  6. Obtain modified standardized testing materials (NAPT, ITBS, TAAS, SAT, ACT) and administer or assist in the administration of the test as needed
  7. Administer various other evaluations as appropriate
  8. Participate in team assessments for students with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities
  9. Work as liaison with other agencies in vocational assessment process
  10. Provide assessment, instruction, and consultation to other educational team members on issues related to assistive technology, especially computer-based assistive technology


Diagnostician/AU Facilitator Requests

1.       Be responsive to the needs of the campus

2.       Gather paperwork for new evaluations from diagnosticians/ARD facilitators

3.       Attend ARDs

4.       Provide paperwork to guide other staff members

5.       Provided ongoing collaboration of the status of assessments and cases




Campus Responsibilities


1.       Provide assistance to students with visual impairments to facilitate positive attitudes and those of others concerning their visual impairment

  1. Facilitate social integration and interaction with peers
  2. Provide training and support to parents of students with visual impairments to enhance their children’s independence
  3. Provide the teachers, staff, and family of students with visual impairment with information regarding their individual needs, methodology, and strategies
  4. Participate with other school personnel and agencies to secure job-related experiences for students
  5. Participate in transition planning


District Responsibilities

1.       Complete all paperwork in a timely fashion

2.       Provide documents that are appropriate and professionally written

3.       Turn all documents in to the campus staff or records room in a timely fashion

4.       Keep clear and accurate Parent Contact logs

5.       Keep clear and accurate Weekly Documentation Logs of the services provided

6.       Turn in Progress Reports in a timely fashion

7.       Provide detailed documentation and data collection of progress on IEP goals and objectives

  1. Provide updated pupil information (e.g., VI registration, deafblind census)

9.      Provide concept development Gross motor skills Visual efficiency skills (with and without optical devices) Sensory efficiency skills Cane skills, including adaptive mobility devices

10.  Provide Map skills Social skills Self-determination Independent living skills

11.  Provide recreational leisure skills Outdoor travel skills, Residential Commercial Public Transportation Personal safety Support Services

12.  Provide assistance to the students with visual impairments in understanding their attitudes and those of others concerning their visual impairments and emphasize social integration with peers and facilitate opportunities for interaction

13.  Be knowledgeable of community-based resources that may be available to and useful for students with visual impairments

14.  Provide in-service training to general and special education personnel, administrative personnel, sighted peers, and parents concerning the O&M needs of the student and appropriate methods for interacting with the person who is visually impaired that will foster maximum independence and safety

15.  Participate in parent conferences and meetings as well as teacher staffing meetings related to students with visual impairments

16.  Maintain adequate records on all evaluations, IEPs, and progress reports/data collection

17.   Provide progress reports to parents Arrange and prepare paperwork as appropriate and attend all staffing meetings on students with visual impairments as they relate to O&M



Additional Resources