Spring 2021: Facilitating Orientation and Mobility for Little Ones: Observations from Southern AZ

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Presented by: G. Cathy Byrne and Cecilia Onaiyekan

Date: 05/08/2021

Teaching Orientation and Mobility (O&M) to the birth-to-three population could be a challenging one because this population has little or no prior knowledge of the skills required. This group of children receive Orientation & Mobility in their natural environments. Some of the challenges could be due to age, other additional disabilities, societal issues, and/or limited O&M specialists. From my observation and experiences, there are some ways to support and encourage Orientation & Mobility to the little ones. This presentation will focus on some ideas on how to support/encourage Orientation & Mobility for the birth to three population in some parts of Southern Arizona. We will discuss how to support/encourage Orientation & Mobility among the Little Ones, with examples drawn from my experiences in working in Southern, AZ. Videos, slides, and some materials will be presented to facilitate the information. We will also discuss some of the challenges in providing services to the children and possible strategies (group discussion). Cathy joined the ASDB Vision Team for Early Intervention in July 2018. She has worked in Early Intervention for over ten years and continues to pursue interventions that make a difference in every child’s life. She has a Master’s Degree in Education with an Emphasis in Rehabilitation. She also completed the Specialization in Visual Impairment Program at the University of Arizona. She is originally from Hawaii and relocated with her daughter almost ten years ago. Her extensive experience has included Social Work, Mental Health and Early Intervention. Cecilia was born and raised in Nigeria along with her seven siblings. She relocated to Arizona in the early 1990s and has called Arizona home since then. Cecilia completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Education at the University of Arizona (U of A) in 1996. In the following year, she completed the Master of Arts degree in Visual Impairment from the same university. In 2007, she became certified as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. She topped this up the following year with an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree at the U of A. Cecilia has many years of experience working with children with visual impairment. This career path started in Nigeria. After relocating to Arizona, she joined the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (ASDB) as a teacher assistant in 1995. Upon the completion of her Master’s degree, she worked as an itinerant teacher in Yuma and Tucson. Since 2005, she has been working with the “Birth to 3” population. Cecilia served as member- at-large for AZ AER for 4 years (2016-2020). She has been a member of AER since 2005 to present. She likes watching news, playing Scrabble, traveling, and spending time with her family.