Modern approaches to orientation and mobility

Habilitation and rehabilitation

Authored by: Karl Wall

The Routledge Handbook of Visual Impairment

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138085411
eBook ISBN: 9781315111353
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter focuses on what was formerly called “orientation and mobility”, and its development since the mid-twentieth century. It explores the demarcation of the closely related fields of rehabilitation (for adults) and habilitation (for children and younger people). It draws on various national contexts and takes account of the need to train and teach children and young people with visual needs (CYPVN), a wide range of independent living skills taking a developmental perspective. Such skills, broadly conceived and more widely framed than “mobility and orientation” alone, have been called “habilitation” (e.g. in the UK: Miller, Wall and Garner, 2011; Wall, 2012a, 2012b). Technology and its utility for those with visual needs are highlighted, and the question of why technology is not more used by those with visual needs is examined. Considering both compendium reviews of the literature and the need to explore emerging national, web-based, resources in order to understand current developments, the chapter offers pointers for researchers and practitioners interested in the area and signals issues and their implications for developments in coming decades.

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