ORIENTATION & MOBILITY

The ability to get around, and to do so safely, whether indoors or out, is a key element of independence for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Olmsted Center for Sight employs a team of professional orientation and mobility instructors who work one-on-one with clients to set and meet their mobility goals. Some may need to get around their own homes or workplaces; others may need or desire to travel outdoors in business or urban settings. Through a variety of methods such as use of residual vision, a sighted guide, long cane, guide dog or current technology, an individual with any degree of visual impairment can learn to travel with confidence.

With the right techniques, individuals can safely navigate indoor areas such as stairs, elevators, halls and restrooms; and outdoor environments like shopping plazas, parking lots, sidewalks and intersections. Our instructors work with clients in the very places they travel each day: their homes, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. For those who choose to learn the use of public transportation, the options are endless.

We assist blind and legally blind adults and children from across all eight counties of Western New York develop mobility skills that can open the door to a whole new world. At Olmsted Center, independence is just a few steps away.

For more information on training, please call us at 716-882-1025.

RESOURCES

Paratransit

Many people with visual and physical disabilities are able to access and use the bus and subway system to get around independently. However, in certain situations this might not be possible. For instance, if weather conditions, construction or very difficult street crossings make reaching the bus stop unsafe or inaccessible, Paratransit Services may be beneficial.

Paratransit is a door to door van service available for those who cannot access standard public transportation.

For an application or more information about mass transit, please call 716-855-7289 or visit the NFTA website at http://metro.nfta.com/Paratransit/Paratransit.aspx

Rural Transit Services

Provides transportation services in outlying areas for medical appointments and shopping.  Contact (716) 549-5098

Guide Dogs

Once an individual can demonstrate safe and independent cane skills, they may be interested in obtaining a Guide Dog.

This decision should not be entered into lightly as it is a huge commitment to the training and long-term care of the service animal.

Qualifications:

  • The candidate must be legally blind
  • 16 years of age or older
  • Completed O&M training and be able to demonstrate safe independent travel (cane travel experience highly recommended)

During the application process the guide dog school of your choice may schedule an interview or request video footage of the designated traveler to ensure travel skills are sufficient. Please be aware that the completion and submission of the application is the applicant’s responsibility. Once the applicant is approved, the applicant will be best matched with a dog and the team will undergo an intensive 26 day (on average) in house training program at the designated school.

Feel free to approach your current Orientation and Mobility specialist with skill requirements, general questions, or for school recommendations. Contact the admissions department of the guide dog school of your choice for more information.