Jill Brown Listen to Jill Brown’s advice on what families can do to support their child’s orientation and mobility skills.


Hi, my name is Jill Brown. I am a certified teacher of visual impairments and an orientation and mobility instructor for Crowley ISD (Independent School District), which is in Texas.

How can parents and other family members support the child’s acquisition of O&M skills? What would you like to ask families to do at home?

One of the biggest things I would like to ask families to do in helping their child to acquire the skills that are needed is one, by setting very high expectations for their child. For their child to be part of the family responsibilities by including them in the family outings, in the family chores, and everything else that has to do—that just because the child has a disability doesn’t mean you have a different set of standards for that child. That having a visual impairment shouldn’t prevent that child from being involved in the community.

Now, the family’s gonna have to work hard to find opportunities to have their child included like playing on a ball team, going to boy scouts or girl scouts, playing with gymnastics, getting involved in dance or karate. I think as a parent by taking the time and investing the time in their child and exposing them to as much of the community as possible, will help develop those child’s independent skills because they’re able to understand everything—or more things out in their community. For example, taking him to various businesses to create opportunities for their child to discover how their neighborhood and community work. Bringing them into a pizza parlor, asking if there’s a downtime where you can bring ’em behind the scenes so the child can understand. And that takes a lot of time on a parent’s part.

The other thing is that their child can do almost anything but without vision. Opportunities to learn about the world are going to have to be created, and it’s gonna take a little bit of thinking outside of the box to be able to get their baby and their preschooler exposed to those. For example, to know what a beach is, taking a trip to the beach, or what a mountain is, or what a bridge is. It’s gonna take a lot of time, and the payoff, in the long run, is so well worth it.