Orientation and Mobility Division (Division 9)

Welcome to the AER Orientation and Mobility Division.

With over 900 members in the Orientation & Mobility Division, we are the largest and most comprehensive professional organization for Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialists in the world.

Our purpose is to encourage and promote professional standards and improvement of O&M practices and services by:

  •  Offering professional development opportunities;
  •  Encouraging quality university preparation of O&M specialists, and
  •  Working to improve and expand O&M services for individuals with visual impairments.

O&M Scope of Practice
A scope of practice paper was developed to more clearly define what we do as professionals.  This document was shared to solicit feedback and then the final document was approved by a 97% vote from division members. Please click here to review this document.

Here you will learn more about What Is an O&M Specialist, Strategic Plan, our current and past leadership, resources, newsletters/meeting minutes, awards, and our Directors Corner


O&M specialists teach people who are blind or visually impaired the skills and concepts they need in order to travel independently and safely – in the home and classroom, and in the community and city. O&M specialists provide services across the lifespan — they teach children who are visually impaired in school programs and adults in rehabilitation settings. READ MORE.

The profession of O&M formally developed during and immediately after World War II, when soldiers who had been blinded in battle were taught how to travel independently. Since that time, the profession developed to serve children, people with low vision, elderly people, deaf-blind people, and visually impaired people with multiple disabilities. Read about O&M: The Living History.

O&M specialists are trained at university and college programs. Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) meet professional standards developed by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.


AER O&M Strategic Plan
The revised O&M division strategic plan was approved by the membership in November 2022. Updates will be provided to the membership through division newsletters, virtual meetings, and a presentation at the AER international conference in 2024.



Contact information for Executive Committee 2022-2024:

Chair: Raychel Callary, [email protected]
Chair-Elect: Margaret Winn, [email protected]
Past-Chair: JoAnne Chalom, [email protected]
Secretary: Valery Kircher, [email protected]
Treasurer: Megann Brousard, [email protected]

AER O&M Executive Committee 2020-2022

Chair: JoAnne Chalom
Past Chair: Chris Tabb
Chair Elect: Raychel Callary
Secretary: Jennifer Duncan
Treasurer: Robert Alminana

Policy and Procedures Manual:  O&M Policies and Procedures



AER O&M Outpost

AER O&M Outpost is an archive for the Division and contains other resources related to Orientation and Mobility.  Please click here to view the AER O&M Outpost.

Accessible Pedestrian Signals

Roundabouts and Pedestrians who are Blind or who have Low Vision (updated version coming soon)

NMSBVI O&M Inventory
The NMSBVI Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Inventory was developed as a means of quantifying student progress across the many areas that make up O&M. The goal was to create a user friendly assessment tool that quickly allowed an O&M to identify areas of need for individual students. Further, there was a need to structure it in such a way as to allow paperwork averse O&Ms to easily track student progress over time. The Inventory aspires to meet these needs.

O&M Program Supervisors and Planners — Problems and Solutions

In 2000, in response to concerns about misunderstandings and misperceptions of program administrators which resulted in inappropriate O&M programs, the Orientation and Mobility Division established an Ad Hoc Supervisory / Program Planning Committee. This committee gathered ideas and resources which are posted here — if you can add any helpful suggestions or information, please contact Dona Sauerburger.

Problems include:

  • Determination/justification of O&M services for children
  • Limited O&M personnel to provide services
  • O&M lessons restricted to building or campus, and/or no transportation to the lessons

For more information on each of the above topic areas, please visit http://www.sauerburger.org/dona/divcaseload

2011 O&M Survey Results



O&M Spring Newsletter 2023

O&M Winter Newsletter 2023

O&M Fall Newsletter2022

O&M Winter Newsletter 2022

O&M Spring Newsletter 2021

O&M Summer Newsletter 2021

O&M Fall Newsletter 2021

Recent Meeting Minutes:

Meeting Minutes September 2023
Meeting Minutes June 2023
Meeting Minutes March 2023
Meeting Minutes March 2019
Meeting Minutes May 2018
Meeting Minutes July 2018
Meeting Minutes December 2018



2024 Donald Blasch Scholarship Information

The Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Division of AER is currently accepting applications for the 2024 Donald Blasch Scholarship through March 10th, 2024. 

AER's O&M Division presents an annual scholarship competition for students enrolled in an AER-approved O&M program. The scholarship recognizes the vital contributions of the late Donald Blasch to the profession of O&M during his long tenure at Western Michigan University.

Individuals selected for the scholarship receive an unrestricted award of $1,000.00. Two scholarships are awarded each year (depending on the availability of funds).

The deadline for receiving applications for the Blasch Scholarship Is March 10th, 2024.

All O&M students enrolled in AER-accredited programs are encouraged to apply. 

For questions, contact Eric Shaw, Chair of the Blasch Scholarship Committee. 


2023 Donald Blasch Scholarship Winners

The AER Orientation & Mobility Division would like to congratulate the winners of the 2023 Blasch Scholarship, Suzanne Feigenson and Jen Scheel. The O&M Division presents two scholarships in the amount of $1000.00, annually when funds are available to two outstanding students who are enrolled in AER approved university programs. Thank you to our panel of dedicated judges who reviewed and scored our many submissions.

Jennifer Scheel- Portland State University

Jen Scheel was born and raised in Western Washington and currently provides career exploration programming for transition age blind, low vision, and deafblind students at the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind in Vancouver Washington. Though Jen had many years of experience working with teens with disabilities as a social worker, her career took a turn five years ago when she began working with young people with visual disabilities. Empowering youth with the tools they need to be independent is what has drawn Jen to the profession of Orientation and Mobility, and she looks forward to supporting students with her degree in the future. 

Suzanne Feigenson- Portland State University

Suzanne Feigenson is currently a Teacher of the Blind and Visually-Impaired for the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, NV.  She is completing her second Masters degree from Portland State University in Orientation and Mobility.  She has been an educator for over 23 years.  She is passionate about providing appropriate and equitable services for children with visual impairments.  In her free time, she likes knitting and traveling.  Suzanne enjoys raising a daughter with her husband and spending quality time with their four-legged family. 

Orientation and Mobility Awards for the Years 2020 and 2022

O&M Awards Committee Chair: Nick Leon
Committee Members: Ana Leffel, Justin Kaiser, Maggie Winn, Mary Kline, Tommie Roesch, and Tricia Sproles

The Awards:

Sandy Kronick Distinguished Service Award
The Sandy Kronick Distinguished Service Award was established in 1994 to recognize professionals who demonstrate distinguished service in O&M through a long-term commitment to direct service. Named after Sandy Kronick due to his lifelong commitment and dedication to teaching O&M while continuing to be actively involved with numerous professional activities and committees.

Lawrence E Blaha Memorial Award
The Lawrence E. Blaha Award was initiated in 1968 to honor people who have shown exemplary behavior in the field of O&M, made outstanding contributions to the profession, and shown dedication to serving people with visual impairments. It is the highest honor that the O&M Division can bestow.

Janet Morgan Barlow Environmental Access Service Award
The Janet Morgan Barlow Environmental Access Service Award was established in 2021 to recognize professionals who demonstrate distinguished service in orientation and mobility through a long-term commitment to environmental access. The award was named for Janet Barlow because of her lifelong commitment and dedication to the field, her steadfast, practical, and strategic methods to address research needs, her advocacy for greater accessibility to the built environment, and her education of orientation and mobility specialists and transportation professionals such as traffic engineers and urban planners on issues relevant to both professional areas.

The 2022 recipients:
Susan Langendonk- Sandy Kronick Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Laura Bozeman- Lawrence E Blaha Memorial Award
*Janet Morgan Barlow – Janet Morgan Barlow Environmental Access Service Award
* The first recipient, awarded posthumously

The 2020 recipients:
Rod Haneline- Sandy Kronick Distinguished Service Award
Nora Griffin-Shirley- Lawrence E Blaha Memorial Award



Updates: Facebook page for news related to Orientation and Mobility at http://www.facebook.com/aeromdiv

Information: AER O&M Division District Directors 2022-2024

DISTRICT 1: Angela Leavens, [email protected]
(Alaska, Alberta, Arizona, British Columbia, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Northwest Territories, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Yukon Territories.)

DISTRICT 2: Shay Utley, [email protected]
(Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Manitoba, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Saskatchewan, Texas.)

DISTRICT 3: Jennifer Duncan, [email protected]
(Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario and Wisconsin.)

DISTRICT 4: Eric Shaw, [email protected]
(Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, New Hampshire, New York, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Rhode Island, Vermont)

DISTRICT 5: Kevin McCormack, [email protected]
(Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tennessee)

DISTRICT 6: Tessa McCarthy, [email protected]
(Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virgin Islands, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C.)