Orientation & Mobility Training

Intro to Orientation and Mobility

Knowing where you are and how to get around are the keys to maintaining an independent lifestyle. HKNC offers one-on-one training in orientation and mobility, giving you the tools to familiarize yourself with new environments and travel as independently as possible. You can work with certified orientation and mobility specialists at our headquarters in Sands Point, New York, or take advantage of our Off-Campus Services, which provide training in home and community settings in downstate New York.

Drawing on the latest research, the HKNC orientation and mobility curriculum is tailored to the unique needs of individuals with combined vision and hearing loss, incorporating elements of communication training to help you take better advantage of the information and assistance available from people you encounter in your travels.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Navigate different environments.
  • Utilize public transportation.
  • Mitigate risks while traveling.
  • Employ strategies to communicate effectively with the public while en route to doctor’s appointments, shopping centers and more.
Man stands by stop sign in front of bus with cane and crossing card.

Research-Based Training

At HKNC, you’ll learn best practices for safer, more efficient travel. Our certified orientation and mobility specialists will introduce you to nationally recognized principles and methods, enhancing this standard training with techniques designed specifically to address the challenges of combined vision and hearing loss and your needs in particular.

Woman with cane gets out of taxiThe first step will be to assess your strengths and challenges, and develop a customized training plan in collaboration with you. Then you’ll dive right into practical, hands-on learning. Can you feel the end of a curb? What do you do when the lights go out and you can’t depend on your residual vision? You’ll begin by navigating buildings on campus and then move on to street crossings and outings in the community.

Man holding a cane enters a busYour training will help you to improve your tactual interpretation of your environment. You’ll learn to switch from visual or aural cues to tactual ones as you orient yourself to new places and adapt to changing circumstances. Our approach also includes a unique emphasis on communication, enabling you to develop the skills and strategies you need in order to seek out information and assistance from the people you meet on your travel routes. Armed with strategies based on extensive research, you’ll be prepared to analyze the risks in unfamiliar surroundings and handle any obstacles that come your way.

During your training, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Identify and learn to use the travel aids that are right for you. (This may include a cane or street-crossing cards.)
  • Learn to take advantage of any residual sight or hearing you may have and create a plan to compensate when it’s not possible to do so.
  • Figure out what you can do on your own and when you need to ask for help.


Programs are open to individuals who are DeafBlind as defined in the Helen Keller Act. Government funding often is available. Your regional representative can answer questions about admission requirements, transportation, funding sources and more

Find Your Regional Rep

Success Story

Video & Transcript

Headshot of woman with glasses

Eloise’s Story: Finding Her Feet Again

Due to Usher syndrome, Eloise was falling a lot. Her cane training gave her the confidence not only to keep moving but to do so safely.

Go to Eloise's Story Go to All HKNC Success Stories

Mobility Hygiene Tip-Sheet

The purpose of this Tip-Sheet is to increase awareness of travel-related items that require routine cleaning used by the DeafBlind community. Helen Keller National Center recommends that individuals follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to ensure you are using effective solutions for cleaning. Individuals should also refer to the manufacturer’s specific instructions on how to clean each aid, tool, and device.

PDF iconMobility Hygiene Tip Sheet