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Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals
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Collapsed Certified Low Vision Therapist (CLVT)

Expanded Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS):

Certification Handbook: (Word)

Collapsed Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT)


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Study Guides

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist Scope of Practice

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) provide sequential instruction to individuals with visual impairment in the use of their remaining senses to determine their position within the environment and in techniques for safe movement from one place to another. The skills involved in this instruction include but are not limited to:

  • Concept Development, which includes body image, spatial, temporal, positional, directional and environmental concepts.
  • Motor Development, including motor skills needed for balance, posture, and gait, as well as the use of adaptive devices and techniques to assist those with multiple disabilities. man assisting woman walking with cane
  • Sensory Development, which includes visual, auditory, vestibular, kinesthetic, tactile, olfactory, and proprioceptive senses, and the interrelationships of these systems.
  • Residual vision stimulation and training
  • Human Guide Technique
  • Upper and Lower Protective Techniques
  • Locating Dropped Objects
  • Trailing
  • Squaring-off
  • Cane techniques
  • Soliciting/Declining Assistance
  • Following directions
  • Utilizing landmarks
  • Search patterns
  • Compass Directions
  • Route Planning
  • Analysis and Identification of Intersections and Traffic Patterns
  • The use of traffic control devices woman assisting man walking with cane
  • Techniques for crossing streets
  • Techniques for travel in indoor environments, outdoor residential, small and large business districts, mall travel, and rural areas
  • Problem solving
  • The use of public transportation
  • Evaluation with sun filters for the reduction of glare
  • Instructional use of Low Vision devices

ACVREP Certification as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist
Professional certification of O&M Specialists has existed for over 30 years. In that time, certification procedures and standards have evolved and changed as the profession has continued to grow. In 2000, the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) was formed. The role of ACVREP is to assume responsibility for professional certification of rehabilitation and education professionals in the area of visual impairment. In establishing ACVREP, existing certification woman assisting man walking with caneprograms were revised to meet nationally recognized standards for voluntary certification organizations as supported by the National Organization for Competency Assurance. Detailed information regarding the requirements for ACVREP certification as an orientation and mobility specialist is included in the Orientation and Mobility Specialist Certification Handbook.

Once an individual has completed necessary requirements and obtained certification, this credential will be valid for a period of 5 years and renewable by documenting work experience and/or participation in professional activities.

Commitment to the Profession
Orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists recognize the significant role that independent movement plays in the overall growth and functioning of the individual and are dedicated to helping each individual attain the level of independence necessary to reach his or her full potential. O & M specialists are committed to protect the rights of individuals who must avail themselves of the particular service. To assure the public of our awareness of this obligation, O & M specialists adhere to standards of acceptable behavior as specified in the Code of Ethics included in the certification handbook.

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