Orientation and Mobility Division (Division 9)

Welcome to the AER Orientation & Mobility Division (Division 9).

With more than 1,000 members in Orientation & Mobility Division, we are the largest and most comprehensive professional organization for Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialists in the world.

Our purpose is to encourage and promote professional standards and improvement of O&M practices and services by:
• Offering professional development opportunities;
• Encouraging quality university preparation of O&M specialists, and
• Working to improve and expand O&M services for individuals with visual impairments.

Special Announcement:

Dear Orientation and Mobility Professional,

William M. Penrod, Eileen Siffermann, Ximena Burgin, Bruce Blasch, and William Wiener are pleased to announce Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to replicate the seminal study of Uslan, Hill, & Peck (1989) The Profession of Orientation and Mobility in the 1980’s. The above mentioned authors have designed a comprehensive and detailed survey instrument that addresses all of the issues and findings of Uslan, Hill, & Peck (1989) and included other pertinent and germane issues regarding perceived needs by professionals in the field of visual impairments, parents and partners of persons who are visually impaired. Your participation in this study will hopefully steer university personnel preparation programs, consumer groups and professional associations in the directions identified by you!

Click here to begin the survey: https://niu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6mr0HKXr4EBgF7f

O&M Scope of Practice

A scope of practice paper was developed to more clearly define what we do as professionals.  This document was shared to solicit feedback and then the final document was approved by a 97% vote from division members.  Here is the final document that includes a 2-page executive summary.

What is an Orientation and Mobility Specialist?

O&M specialists teach people who are blind or visually impaired the skills and concepts they need in order to travel independently and safely – in the home and classroom, and in the community and city. O&M specialists provide services across the life span — they teach children who are visually impaired in school programs and adults in rehabilitation settings. READ MORE.

The profession of O&M formally developed during and immediately after World War II, when soldiers who had been blinded in battle were taught how to travel independently. Since that time, the profession developed to serve children, people with low vision, elderly people, deaf-blind people, and visually impaired people with multiple disabilities. Read about O&M: The Living History.

O&M specialists are trained at university and college programs. Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) meet professional standards developed by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.

O&M Strategic Plan

The AER O&M Division Strategic Plan was approved by the membership in September 2017. Here is the annual progress report from June 2018.

AER International Orientation and Mobility Conference 2017

Thank you to attendees, presenters, organizers and volunteers who made the conference a wonderful success.


Justin Kaiser, AER O&M Division Chair, at the podium welcoming attendees to the AER International Orientation & Mobility Conference & Meeting 2017 on July 19 in Pittsburgh, with Lou Tutt, AER Executive Director, and Susan Langendonk, Conference Program Committee Chair.

Past chairs of the AER Orientation & Mobility Division are pictured at the AER International Conference 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida , July 22, 2016.
Past and current chairs of the AER Orientation & Mobility Division are pictured at the AER International Conference 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida,  July 22, 2016.