|He looks thrilled.|
Last week we started O&M training at the Mall. The mall is fairly quiet during the day and it is filled with long hallways. It is a safe and climate controlled space to practice orientation and mobility skills. It's realistic because you can use side hallways that are quieter and then move on to the busier areas as the child's skill and confidence grow.
We started by having Tom and his teacher in one spot and me a couple meters away. I would call to Thomas and he would walk to my voice while trailing the wall with his hand. He also walks with his "bumpers up." You teach young children to walk with their hands up (bumpers up) in front of them so they don't run into objects face first. Tom is excellent at trailing. It just seems natural to him to feel whatever he can when in new environments.
|Trailing with his hands.|
Now of course, there are times when sighted guide is an appropriate way for blind people to travel. But I don't want that to be what Tom relies on. I want him to be in control of his destiny.
You will probably notice that Tom isn't smiling in these pictures. That's because this is very hard work for him. He is completely out of his comfort zone. But these are the skills he needs and before long he will we will be telling him to slow down and wait for us.
It wasn't all work. He did get to ride those silly machines at the mall that play music and move around for 75 cents as a treat!