The master of arts in rehabilitation of the blind: Orientation and Mobility program develops skills in teaching both congenitally and adventitiously blind and low-vision persons in a wide range of education and rehabilitation agencies nationwide. The program offers an emphasis in orientation and mobility instruction. The program is open to both full-time and part-time students. Many of the courses are offered in a web-based format. Students may expect to enroll in 1-3 online courses each semester (two courses is the recommended maximum).
The Online Master of Arts Degree Program in Orientation and Mobility prepares professionals to provide orientation and mobility services to people who are blind or visually impaired. Orientation & Mobility Specialists provide consumers with skills to maximize environmental information and to process and utilize it to make judgments and decisions for independent travel while using their remaining vision, long canes or dog guides. The Program provides the coursework and supervised fieldwork experiences required for certification by the Academy for the Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).
There is a recognized national shortage of Orientation and Mobility Specialists. In response to shortages of personnel in the rehabilitation and education fields specific to vision impairment, the Department of CARE offers a Master of Arts degree and Certificate program in Orientation and Mobility. The programs are available online through part-time study, including some face-to-face classes provided in Little Rock and, in special instances, in other states.
Students must commit to coming to Little Rock for two consecutive summers to enroll in the blindfold simulation classes and student teaching. Summer classes usually run for the last three weeks in June, and students receive free room and some meals either at the Arkansas School for the Blind or at Lions World Services for the Blind, where classes are held. In exchange for the living accommodations, students must agree to assist in light recreational duties (or student teaching responsibilities) with the children at the school. Internships may be arranged in the student’s home community under the supervision of a certified O&M instructor. Students adhering to a prescribed program of study may be able to complete the degree in 2.5-3 years.