How to Navigate Outside your Home with AMD
Hi Everyone! Last monthís e-newsletter focused on how to get around inside your home. So, this time, Iíll give you some tips for navigating the outside world safely and securely, so you can enjoy being outside, getting fresh air, and living your life to the fullest even with AMD.
Often, visually impaired people navigate the world is through Orientation and Mobility Services Training. This specialized training teaches a person on how to safely and independently travel despite their visual impairment. So, letís talk about it and how it can benefit someone with advanced AMD.
Orientation and Mobility Services Training
O&M Specialists help people with visual impairments to safely and independently navigate their home and outside world. They do this by training their clientsí other senses, and by using aids like white canes, filters, and guide dogs.
Sound, smell, and touch
A person with AMD can get around effectively by using his or her remaining senses.
For example, if a person with advanced AMD wants to go to a coffee shop, they can use touch to read Braille directions for bus schedules, and maps. Or, they can listen to GPS, or ask someone for verbal directions. And, when they get closer, they can smell the coffee from the shop.
White canes and filters
One of the things lost in advanced AMD is contrast sensitivity. This affects the ability to see things like curbs, steps, and stairs. So, with the use of different colored filters, a person suffering from AMD can better navigate the outside world.
A white cane can also help. Typically, itís used by keeping the tip of the cane two steps ahead of where youíre walking, to feel any changes in elevation or terrain. Instruction in white cane use is also a part of what O&M Specialists do to help their clients.
The use of a trained guide dog is also another way a person with AMD can find their way around outside the home. These special dogs are trained to navigate through obstacles but canít interpret street signs since dogs are color blind. The O&M Specialist will help a person with AMD learn how to direct the service dog to their destination.
How to find an O&M Specialist?
O&M Specialist can be found through the Department of Rehabilitation if you are a veteran, or through a private agency for the visually impaired.
You can find information on how to locate them through the American Foundation for the Blind, National Federation for the Blind, and your local or state centers for the visually impaired.
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