New practitioner identifies the need for more multilingual orientation and mobility instructional materials.
Physicians (General practice)
Teaching (Equipment and supplies)
|Publication:||Name: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness Publisher: American Foundation for the Blind Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American Foundation for the Blind ISSN: 0145-482X|
|Issue:||Date: Oct-Nov, 2011 Source Volume: 105 Source Issue: 10|
|Topic:||Event Code: 200 Management dynamics|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
I am very thankful, honored and privileged to be a member of the
orientation and mobility (O&M) community. I graduated in 2010, and I
just completed my first year working as an O&M service provider in
Southern California. In any endeavor, one faces many challenges and
disappointments. On the other hand, it is possible to discover many
innovations and creative solutions with persistence and the sharing of
ideas. As inexperienced as I am, I feel that this first year has been
successful, full of personal and professional growth. The first year in
which one is working in a new profession can make or break the
individual. This is why the foundation on which you build your
professional expertise must be solid. I feel that any success that I
encountered my first year did not stem solely from my own effort, but
from the extraordinary professors, excellent mentors, and amazing
clients that have guided my foundational knowledge, problem solving, and
ability to adapt to O&M's ever-evolving frontiers. I consider
the loving support and caring attention I received (and continue to
receive) from my professors and mentors as the cornerstone of this
field. This professional support has also prepared me well for two of
the main challenges I confronted in my first year of work.
One of the greatest challenges I have faced thus far is the lack of awareness of O&M by members of the public and school staff members. School administrators and personnel sometimes cut my O&M program short because of this lack of awareness. I often had to advocate for the basic needs of some of my students, such as being able to transport students off campus for lessons during the school day. In addition, a school staff member thought that "O&M Specialist" stood for "Operations and Maintenance Services." I knew I would face challenges as an O&M practitioner, and I hope that those of us in the field can continue to work toward gaining public visibility of and professional credibility for O&M to help alleviate some of these straggles.
As the field of O&M continues to grow, ! think great importance should be placed on meeting the specific language needs of the population of each region we serve. Language needs is something I was made aware of during my university training. I am lucky to be Hispanic and bilingual in an area in which Spanish is spoken widely. My language skills and acquired cultural sensitivity has definitely allowed me to work more effectively with the growing population of Hispanic students and clients, and their families. In the past the American Foundation for the Blind published a manual to assist English and Spanish translations of O&M instructions. However, it is no longer available in print. The need for multilingual instructional materials is something we should not overlook as we offer O&M services to non-English-speaking communities.
As a fresh "O&Mer," I am very excited to see what the future has in store for us. I am optimistic about the direction in which we are headed. It is great to witness all the technological advances taking place. The mind-opening research of our field is also very promising. With all these new avenues opening up, I feel that O&M is on its way to greater and better things.
David Martinez, M.A., COMS, O&M specialist, Fontana Unified School District," mailing address: 9680 Citrus Avenue, Building 33, Fontana, CA 92334; e-mail:
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|