Position Papers and Resolutions
The AER O&M Division membership has position papers which reflect the consensus of the membership. In order to be an approved AER O&M Division position paper, the following procedure must be followed:
a. prepare a draft of the position paper and publish it in a Division newsletter and/or other appropriate publication that reaches all Division members. Because of the importance of comments from Division members, no position paper may be considered for acceptance by the Division unless a draft has had prior publication in a Division newsletter or another appropriate publication.
b. invite comments, criticisms, and suggestions from the Division members and revise the position paper accordingly.
c. accept final draft of the position paper with a two-thirds majority vote at an international meeting or through mail ballot voting of the Division membership.
d. distribute and publicize approved position papers.
The following position papers have been approved by the AER Board of Directors and the O&M Division membership:
1. Teaching street crossing at streets and lanes where there is no traffic control - 2008
This position paper was developed to address issues that should be considered when preparing students for crossing streets where there is no traffic control.
Teaching Orientation and Mobility through Individual and Group Lessons - 2006
This paper addresses the feasibility and ethics of providing O&M training in groups, when traditional O&M is provided with one-to-one instruction. It was proposed in response to O&M specialists who were being asked by their agencies to provide O&M in groups. It was approved unanimously at the O&M Division business meeting July 17, 2006.
3.. Orientation and Mobility in Natural Settings - 2006
This paper was developed to aid practitioners whose administrators may not understand the fundamental nature of providing O&M assessment and instruction in the environments in which these O&M skills and techniques will be used. It was developed in response to concerns from the field which were first voiced at a Roundtable on Supervisory/Program Planning issues at the O&M Division Conference in 2003. The document can hopefully help administrators of O&M programs to understand the necessity for irregular work schedules (including night lessons) and instruction in the community. It was approved unanimously at the O&M Division business meeting July 17, 2006.
4. Teaching Street Crossing at Signalized Intersections - 2006
As signalized intersections have become increasingly complex, this paper was proposed to recognize the importance of understanding the issues involved and teaching them appropriately. It was approved unanimously at the O&M Division business meeting July 17, 2006.
5. Orientation and Mobility Specialist Roles, Responsibilities, and Qualifications - 2004
This paper was originally developed in 2000 by the O&M Division’s Executive Committee in an effort to define what is unique about O&M service that should be provided only by qualified, properly trained O&M specialists. For example, O&M specialists often work with other professionals as team members to provide O&M services, especially for consumers with multiple disabilities, and there is sometimes a question as to what O&M services are appropriate for these other professionals to provide, and what should be provided only by qualified O&M specialists. In addition, there was a growing concern that O&M services are sometimes provided by professionals with inadequate training in O&M. This paper was intended to reflect the consensus of AER O&M Division members and the O&M profession to explain which responsibilities and tasks are the exclusive role of O&M specialists, and who is qualified to provide that service. The final draft was approved by a vote of 99% approval in the Spring of 2004.
6. Use of Visual Occlusion in Orientation and Mobility Training - 2004
This paper was first proposed in 2003 by the Professional Standards Committee to address the growing issue of O&M specialists who are required by their agencies to blindfold all of their consumers, when such a blanket approach may work against the best interest of the consumer. The original draft was revised to reflect comments; the final draft was approved by a vote of 97% approval in the Spring of 2004.
7. Model Program for Use of Orientation and Mobility Assistants - 2004
This model is intended to provide guidance as a best practice model for those who want to use an Orientation and Mobility Assistant (OMA), and to provide a tool to assist those whose administrators are pressuring them to hire and use OMAs in what they consider to be an inappropriate manner. At the time this model was developed, many O&M Division members felt that OMAs would not be an asset to their program because their consumers progress quickly without supervised practice between lessons, and/or their program is itinerant and doesn’t geographically lend itself to the use of OMAs. However some members felt that OMAs would enhance their effectiveness, and a few members were under pressure from their administrators to incorporate OMAs into their program to extend their services.
The first draft of the OMA model was proposed in 2000 by what is now the Professional Standards Committee. In a vote in the spring of 2001, this draft received at vote of 62% approval, which wasn’t enough to be accepted as a position paper (2/3 approval is required). The final draft reflected the concerns of the membership and was approved by a vote of 87% approval in the Spring of 2004.
8. University Trained Mobility Specialists - 1990
This paper was approved at the AER Division Nine business meeting in Washington, DC in July, 1990.
9. Orientation and Mobility Specialists and the Provision of Travel Instruction to Individuals with Nonvisual Disabilities
The position paper was developed to provide guidance for O&M specialists who are being asked to provide travel instruction (TI) to individuals with disabilities other than visual impairment who have functional mobility limitations. The AER O&M Division supports O&M specialists providing travel instruction, if they possess the knowledge and competencies identified in this position paper. The paper defines TI and covers similarities between the professions of O&M and TI, areas of emphasis when providing TI, and recommended competencies. The original draft was revised to incorporate input from the O&M Division membership. The final paper was approved with a 94% approval rate of the Division members who voted in August 2013, followed by approval of the AER Board of Directors on September 29, 2013.