Mobility training aims to develop the visually impaired child’s awareness and understanding of the environment to enable them to travel as independently as their ability allows.
Trailing is an important skill used by blind and visually impaired children to help them stay orientated . It involves placing one hand on the wall whilst walking and using the natural course of the wall to follow. Children can use this method of mobility and orientation to locate land marks, in turn giving them a better sense of their environment. For young blind and visually impaired children who are able to walk independently when effectively using the trailing technique they may feel a general sense of security in their surroundings.
Scarlett is currently working on trailing, we encourage this when around the home by labelling the items she is trailing along, such as ‘table’ and ‘sofa’ and consistent use of directional language, such as forward, back, left and right. When guiding her to a room I always try to ensure she uses one hand along the wall and tell her the location and destination.
When we are ‘out and about’ we try to encourage her to trail along fences and walls where possible, although this environment may be completely new to her, I think consistently encouraging this technique of feeling along a surface is a good way of helping her adopt this technique in everyday life.
Scarlett’s Mobility Officer also visits Scarlett at nursery, she encourages Scarlett to travel around the perimeter and along the various obsticals in the room, such as workstations and furniture.
Scarlett is very confident in moving around, sometimes a little too confident, that teamed with a lack of fear means Scarlett often walks out into opens spaces. Although I believe this demonstrates a high level of confidence in her surroundings this isn’t the safest way to travel.
Recently Scarlett has become much better at moving from room to room and has adopted the technique of trailing in order to safely get to her destination.