As an Orientation and Mobility Specialist one key factor in determining if someone who is blind and visually impaired will be a successful independent traveler is by examining their ability to implement and successful incorporate the 5 point travel system.
Firstly, What is the 5 Point Travel System?
The 5 Point Travel System is a combination of five different Orientation and Mobility skills that are necessary to become a good independent traveler. If any one of the 5 skills are lacking the ability to travel independently will be dampened. As an instructor it is important to teach or reinforce these skills to increase one’s independence.
What are the 5 skills?
1 – Route Pattern/Shape – There are four basic route patterns that are designated by four letters in the English alphabet I, L, U, and Z.
2 – Cardinal/Compass Directions – After learning route patterns the cardinal directions North, South, East and West can be added. Cardinal directions are helpful because no matter which direction a person is facing the directions always remain constant.
3 – Names of Hallways/Streets – Hallway and street names facilitate orientation by assisting the traveler in understanding where exactly they are in their environment. Without knowing the names of hallways or streets one can become easily disoriented.
4 – Landmarks – Landmarks are things that are constant and permanent along ones route that can be used for orientation purposes. Such as a light pole or mailbox.
5 – Reverse the Route – Finally it is important for the traveler to be able to reverse the route to return to their original destination.
This is just an introduction to the 5 point travel system. In future articles and videos each step will be thoroughly covered and examined.