College of Education and Rehabilitation

Department of Blindness and Low Vision Programs

Orientation & Mobility Program

Salus University is in the process of updating its curriculum and course description pages to reflect the College of Education and Rehabilitation's recent curriculum revision.  While the site is under construction, please contact for the latest updates.

Course Descriptions

Salus University, through the College of Education and Rehabilitation, offers competency and research-based professional preparation programs that are predominantly online with a summer residency.  The coursework and experiences are designed to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to provide educational and rehabilitation services to individuals with visual impairments, blindness, as well as individuals with multiple disabilities. 

Students successfully completing these programs are eligible for certification by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP), and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (in the case of the TVI program).


Salus University College of Education and Rehabilitation requires graduate students to be computer literate upon entry into their respective programs of study.   Most of the courses are online and require computer skills related to emailing, word processing, uploading and downloading files and assignments, searching the World Wide Web, and interacting online among others. 
Prior to entering the program, students who lack basic skills in using the computer should complete a basic computer course from a computer education service, a community college, or university.  After entering the program, students needing additional computer assistance may find help in the University’s Department of Academic Computing. 

Master’s degree candidates participate in research courses that may require skills in setting formulas for calculations in spreadsheets or databases and creating graphic representations of data.

Access to Transportation

Due to the nature or the O&M program, several courses require students to travel to a variety of environments either for class (e.g., O&M techniques I and II) or practicum courses (e.g., co-teaching, internship).  Therefore, students are responsible for securing their access to efficient ways transportation.

Orientation and Mobility Program - Course Descriptions

700/501  Visual Impairment and Functional Implications

(Fall) (3 semester credits) (online)
Addresses the anatomy and physiology of the eye including ocular development and development of the visual system.  Topical areas include learning to see, age related changes in the eye, innervations of the eye, basic optics and medications with their side effects.  The course explores the functional visual implications of diseases of the eye, syndromes and brain injury.  Learners observe primary and low vision eye exams, learn about prescriptions of low vision devices and demonstrate the ability to interpret eye reports and discuss their functional implications.  The learner applies these topics to an individual's functional visual performance.

701/500  Foundations of Vision Rehabilitation and Education

(Summer) (1.5 semester credits) (online)
A survey course representing disciplines dedicated to the education and rehabilitation of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  The course introduces learners to history, definitions, legislation, referral processes, education and rehabilitation planning, procedures and resources (human, physical, and financial), cultural diversity and learning theories related to the needs of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.  Learners will explore professionalism and ethics as well as issues related to accessibility, privacy, confidentiality and advocacy.

702/502  Assessment

(Fall) (1 semester credit) (online)
Provides an introduction to the nature, purpose and challenges surrounding assessment practices. Various types of assessments (e.g. psychological, educational, vocational, and physical) used to evaluate people with visual impairments and additional disabilities are discussed.  The course covers a variety of informal and formal screening, assessment, and evaluation methods, including alternative and statewide tests, observation, history taking and interviews.  Additional assessments include outcomes-based, curriculum-based and portfolio approaches. Learners discuss testing and assessment within an historical context including the development of standardized tests and their applicability for individuals with vision impairment.  Learners study general testing procedures such as reliability, validity and test bias.  Learners examine their role and that of other professionals in the testing process, the interpretation of test results and the importance of accurate and confidential record keeping.

706/507  Psychological and Social Dynamics of Visual Impairment

(Spring) (1.5 semester credits) (online)
Explores the psychosocial factors affecting the process of adjustment to visual impairment across the life span.  Through case analysis and consumer and family participation, learners explore a variety of issues related to adjustment including demographics, life stage, type of visual impairment, personality, self-concept, social support network and the grieving process. The course also explores the impact of societal attitudes and stereotypes toward blindness and visual impairment. Learners are exposed to relationship building and effective communication skills strategies.  An overview of the range of psychosocial interventions is provided including resources for referrals.

707/508  Teamwork and Collaboration

(Spring) (.5 semester credit) (online)
Explores the ways in which professionals collaborate individually or collectively to address the needs of individuals with visual impairments and gives an overview of the types of teams, their composition and team building strategies. Learners will discuss members’ roles, relationships, and responsibilities. Strategies to maintain effective team functioning, as well as resolving team conflict, are also covered.

708/509  Visual Impairment and Additional Disabilities

(Spring) (2 semester credits) (online)
Provides an introduction to a number of concomitant medical, social and psychological conditions that may have an impact upon the provision of educational and rehabilitation services to children and adults who are blind or visually impaired.  The course explores functional implications of additional disabilities with emphasis on cognition, perception, communication, behavior, balance, and movement as well as medical conditions and health issues.  Learners will become familiar with a range of adaptive assessment and intervention strategies for individuals with visual impairment and additional disabilities.

709/510  Critical Analysis of Research

(Fall) (2 semester credits) (online)
Learners acquire the tools necessary for becoming critical readers of research.  Learners become familiar with the basic attributes of quantitative methods of research, including experimental and non-experimental designs and qualitative methods of research.   Research designs covered include true experimental, quasi-experimental, descriptive, co-relational, single-subject, survey, ethnographic and case study approaches.  The course also presents a basic survey of statistical methods used in these approaches.

710/511  Functional Applications of Research

(Spring) (2 semester credits) (online)
Teaches learners how to conceptualize and conduct research in their professional environments.  Learners investigate ethical research practices, the process for obtaining research approval at various institutions and methods of data collection.  Learners use varied methods and tools, including computer software, to organize, analyze, interpret and apply research data.  

711/512  Human Development Across the Life Span

(Spring) (2 semester credits) (online)
Learners study the course of human development from conception through late adulthood.  Topics include normative changes in motor development, sensory motor integration, cognition, sensation and perception, physiology and social development.  Special emphasis is placed upon the critical role of vision and the accompanying process of visual change across the life span.  In addition, demographic trends and an in-depth study of the network of services for older adults are provided.

712/514 - Independent Living Skills for O&M/TVI Professionals

(Summer) (1 semester credit) (college)
Provides learners with hands-on instruction and laboratory practice (using low vision simulators and blindfolds) in the methods and adaptive techniques used by vision professionals in the following independent living skill areas:  (a) cleaning skills and household safety, (b) labeling, (c) money identification, (d) grooming and self care skills, (e) time identification, (f) basic food preparation, (g) telephone skills and (h) signature and handwriting guides. Classes emphasize the utilization of adaptive techniques and resource gathering, and address skills that are appropriate for children, adolescents, adults and older adults. 

755/541 - Orientation & Mobility Foundations 1

(Summer) (2 semester credits) (online & college)
The initial O&M survey course.  Learners are introduced to the philosophies and definitions of O&M, concept development, spatial and environmental concepts, spatial mapping and strategies for designing and making tactile graphics.   Learners study the human senses, how they function, teaching strategies to increase sensory awareness and utilization and sensory integration.  Observation strategies and assessment tools specific to O&M are presented and studied. Critical characteristics of various environments used to instruct individuals with visual impairment are identified in relationship to specific O&M skills and techniques. Strategies for previewing all types of environments are presented and modeled.

756/542 Orientation & Mobility Foundations 2

(Fall) (4 semester credits) (online & college)
Addresses learning approaches, styles, and strategies used with specific groups within the population of individuals who are blind or visually impaired such as infants and toddlers, those with deaf-blindness, brain injury and those with multiple disabilities.   Learners study methods and approaches to teaching and applying advocacy skills.  Individual planning for O&M students of all ages including those with additional disabilities is emphasized. Learners research national and international organizations and agencies directly and indirectly related to services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, their families and service providers.  Learners design and construct adaptive canes.  Learners become familiar with national O&M certification organizations and their requirements for application and re-certification.

757/543 - O&M Techniques 1

(Summer) (2 semester credits) (college)
Provides learners with instruction in basic skills and techniques used in independent travel by individuals with visual impairments including the use of human guide, independent travel techniques, orientation strategies and long cane skills.  Learners experience traveling and teaching in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings, under blindfold and simulated visual loss, and gain knowledge of instructional strategies, such as planning, sequencing and pacing of lessons. 

758/544 - O&M Techniques 2

(Summer)(2 semester credits) (college)
Builds on O&M Techniques 1 and provides learners with instruction in advanced skills and techniques used in independent travel by individuals with visual impairments, including crossing various types of intersections, locating destinations, route planning and using optical devices.  Learners experience traveling and teaching O&M skills in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments including business and downtown areas.  Emphasis is also placed on strategies, methods and materials for teaching orientation and mobility skills in special environments such as shopping malls, department stores and public transportation. 

762/545 - Orientation & Mobility for Individuals with Low Vision 1

(Summer) (4 semester credits) (online & college)
This course provides background, assessment and intervention strategies in O&M for persons with low vision.  Topics include:  history and development of low vision O&M, functional mobility implications of various eye conditions, O&M low vision instructional strategies for mobility problems common to persons with low vision, and techniques for enhancing distance visual efficiency in various environments. This course emphasizes creative intervention strategies for the unique needs of individuals with varying functional vision levels.  Emphasis is also placed on strategies for working with individuals with head injury, and driving with low vision.  Basic optics of the eye and optical devices and instructional techniques with near distance and visual field enhancement devices are provided to enhance visual efficiency for person with low vision. Learners are provided with opportunities to apply principles of low vision intervention through the use of case studies, role-play situations, and practice with resources and devices.

777/546 - Orientation & Mobility for Individuals with Low Vision 2

(Fall) (4 semester credits) (online & college)
This course provides assessment techniques and intervention strategies for enhancing the orientation and mobility performance of individuals with low vision.  Emphasis is placed on intervention strategies working with both the unaided and aided visual system.  Course content involves lectures on theory and labs with practical applications in areas such as instructional strategies for enhancing visual efficiency, distance and depth perception, analysis and use of environments for visual awareness, orientation and safety, use of visual cues and landmarks, as well as instruction with various optical devices.  Simulation experiences occur in a variety of environments during both day and evening conditions. 

750/547 - Basic Braille

(Summer) (.5 semester credits) (college)
Provides learners with hands-on instruction in Braille for the purposes of identifying uncontracted Braille, using a variety of tools to produce the Braille alphabet, numbers and punctuation, and producing Braille labels for maps and diagrams.  Classes highlight information about ADA signage regulations and resources for interpreting contractions used in Braille signage.

780/548 - Beyond the Basics of O&M

(Fall) (1.5 semester credits) (online)
This course provides a forum for learners to explore specific areas related to teaching O&M. Topics include: intersection design and analysis, modern signalization, challenges for blind and visually impaired pedestrians, accessible pedestrian signals, detectable warnings, legislation related to the public rights-of-way, transit system accessibility, advocacy, electronic travel aids, dog guides, and travel in adverse weather conditions. Online discussions and assignments are designed to encourage each learner to become an active participant in a collaborative learning process.

781/549 - Beyond the Basics of O&M 2

(Spring) (1 semester credit) (online)
This course provides a forum for learners to explore contemporary issues pertinent to the field of orientation and mobility, such as teaching O&M to students with multiple disabilities, writing reports and maintaining appropriate records, developing shared ownership, and collaborating effectively with students, families, professionals and paraeducators.

763/640 - Fieldwork

(Summer, Spring or Fall) (0.5 semester credits) (TBD)
Learners observe a variety of O&M instructors working in various instructional settings, such as school, home, community and rehabilitation agencies.  Learners become familiar with assessment and teaching strategies as they apply to individuals with visual impairments of all age groups and levels of ability. 

764/641 - O&M Co-Teaching 1

(Upon completion of pre-requisite courses) (1 semester credit)
Learners apply newly acquired knowledge and skills in serving individuals with visual impairments through a partnership with certified orientation and mobility specialists who act as mentors, while they share responsibilities in the delivery of O&M services.  Emphasis is on techniques and strategies for providing assessment and instruction to a variety of individuals with visual impairments, including those with multiple disabilities.  Co-Teaching 1 placements are selected in collaboration with students from available service settings (e.g., State Agencies, Schools for the Blind, Private non-profit agencies, etc.) and take into consideration the learners’ needs.

765/642 - O&M Co-Teaching 2

(Upon completion of pre-requisite courses) (1 semester credit)
Learners continue the partnership with their assigned O&M mentors or move to a new placement to further develop their knowledge and skill level in the various aspects of service delivery.  As the course progresses, learners are expected to assume increasing levels of initiative, involvement and independence in the delivery of O&M services. 

766/643 - O&M Internship

(Upon completion of all coursework) (5.5 semester credits)
This off-campus internship assists students in developing and refining skills needed to provide quality professional services in O&M.  During the Internship, learners benefit from joint agency and University supervision and mentorship while experiencing the various aspects of an O&M instructor's job including: O&M assessment, planning and instruction, caseload management, report writing and in-service training. Interns are expected to demonstrate consistent progress and independence in their ability to provide appropriate O&M services. The University collaborates with students in selecting on-site supervisors who are certified and have adequate experience.  

767/645 - O&M Comprehensive Examination

(Upon completion of program) (1 semester credit)
The Comprehensive Exam is administered by the Program Director to evaluate learner’s knowledge and application of competencies addressed throughout their program at the University. It is typically a written exam, although it may include oral responses as well as demonstrations of knowledge and skills.