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May 2010

By Le Dan Bach Viet M.S

Data disclaimer

The author and Disability Resource & Development (DRD) make every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information in this document. We make no representation or warranty, expressed or implied, about the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the information in the document. You assume full responsibility for using the information and you understand and agree that neither the author or Disability Resource & Development nor any of its employees is responsible or liable for any claim, loss or damage resulting from its use. Furthermore the views and opinions of the author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Disability Resource & Development or any of its employees.

Bibliographic Citation

Publications based on Le Dan Bach Viet and DRD data collections should acknowledge the data sources by means of standard bibliographic citations. To ensure that source attributions are available for use by future social science researchers, full standard citations must appear in the footnotes or reference sections of publications. For further information contact Le dan Bach Viet at email Địa chỉ email này đã được bảo vệ từ spam bots, bạn cần kích hoạt Javascript để xem nó. cell phone: 0909-281961


Orientation & Mobility (O & M) plays an important role for persons with visual impairment of all ages as it helps them to not only travel effectively and safely, but also supports their daily routine activities. O & M was first introduced in Vietnam in 1967, but it has not been appropriately updated since then. In recent years short-term O & M training courses for instructors have been taught with support from foreign specialists and have received more attention from schools for the blind. So far however there has been no independent survey to overview the current status of instruction and learning on O & M in the country. More importantly, a survey is needed to record the opinions of the learners who apply O & M techniques in their daily lives to see whether or not the training at school meets both their needs and Vietnam’s environment.

For the above reasons Disability Resource and Development (DRD) funded this survey with the specific objectives:

· To find out the current status of teaching of O & M teachers

· To find out the current situation of applying O & M in the daily lives of adult students with visual impairment

· To find out the needs of the instructors, students and other stakeholders

· To test the need for an O & M network between O & M instructors and students among visually impaired persons etc

· To make recommendations for the development of O & M in Vietnam to improve the life quality of visually impaired persons

Participants in the Survey

IParticipants were drawn from the following institutions:

1. Teachers and students at Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for the Blind Nhat Hong Center for visually impaired children

2. Thien An Warm House for the Blind

3. Huynh De Nhu Nghia School for the Blind

4. VI students and lecturers of Faculty of Visual Impairment - Department of Special Education at University of Education and National College of Education

5. Students at Schools for Disabled Children in three neighboring provinces of Ho Ch Minh City (Tay Ninh, Long An and Dong Nai)

Individual interviews were conducted with 17 teachers who were trained in O & M, including 11 O & M instructors (only 3 schools had full time O & M teachers - others have to teach other subjects such as Information Technology, Independent Living skills, drawing or physical education). 28 visually impaired students, comprising 9 former or current university students 11 high school and 8 secondary students, were interviewed individually.

Methods of the Survey

Primary data collection methods were used, including semi-structured interviews, observations with guidelines, case studies, and document review. Two separate questionnaires, one for the instructor and another for visually impaired students were used for the interviews. Observations were conducted through semi-structured questionaires for observing O & M classes and for observing students practicing O & M. Case studies were conducted with some students with visually impairment who had been trained using O & M previously. Curriculum and materials for O & M training in Vietnam were used for document review and compared with the development of international O & M theories and practices.

The data collection was conducted during December 2009 to January 2010, and analyzed by the survey team in February, 2010. Subsequently, in April 2010, a workshop was held bring the survey group, participants and an O & M specialist together with related teachers and students to review the data and get agreement and feedback on main findings for the final survey report.

Main Findings

Four main findings emerge from our survey. These relate to (1) the training of O & M resource teachers (2) the issue of curriculum (3) pre- and post- O & M instruction assessment and evaluation on trainees practice and (4) the exchange environment between instructors and learners.

1. There is no O & M or systematic training resource available for teachers and instructors with a scientific foundation that can apply in the culture and traffic in Vietnam.

1.1 Of teachers who participated in the survey we found that 30% were trained for a total of 6 weeks in O & M by an Sri Lanka trainer (for 2 weeks a year, over 3 years) while the remainder received 2 or 4 weeks training. A small number completed 60 credit hours at the University of Education – Faculty of Visual Impairment (class or group instruction) then upgraded their skills via instruction from colleagues or by practice. Some teachers of NDC School learned from short-term training courses in O & M in the early intervention program for visually impaired toddlers with additional disabilities by trainers from Perkins School for the Blind. Only one instructor received systematic training from an American expert, although this was approximately 40 years ago.

1.2 O & M teachers do not have class-observation or internship as required in education. Instead they go directly from the training classes to the teaching field. 100% of teachers and adult students were aware of the importance of O & M for persons with visual impairment and obtained basic techniques in orientation and mobility for blind persons.

1.3 All teachers were aware of the importance of O & M for persons with visual impairment.

2. On O&M curriculum building and appropriate methology skills and techniques.

2.1 There is no framework curriculum with a foundation of O & M.

2.2 There is no unified curriculum or appropriate exercise routine for students in the unfamiliar indoor environment. As a result, students are faced with challenges at unfamiliar indoor travel. 79% said they met many situations that the curriculum does not cover and it is applied for totally blind children only.

2.3 41% teachers who conduct applied group instruction said that, if they had the right to choose, they would prefer individual instruction to meet student’s needs while 64% students would also like individual training. On the other hand about 14% students want a combination of individual and group instruction. This shows that there is no clear agreement on the issue.

2.4 Students only learn about familiar indoor travel have lived in their environment for an extended period, in some cases for 9 years or longer. 92% said they met difficulties while traveling in unfamiliar indoor environments. 88% had difficulty in distinguishing different types of sound. All students with low vision said they were not trained appropriately for their condition.

2.5 Behavorial and social skills are taught in traditional way without practice or role-play.

3. Assessment & evaluation before and after the training - teachers do not have O&M assessment and understand the importance of assessment.

3.1 Almost all teachers in the survey (16 out of 17) said that they had received assessment whereas, in fact, none of them have ever attended O & M assessment techniques or Foundations of Orientation & Mobility courses.

3.2 79% of teachers have had challenges during practical situations. Most importantly teachers do not provide individual recommendations after assessing students, for example those that need to wear hat or sunglasses while traveling outdoor, use magnifier or nonocular, or need visual scanning when preparing to cross the street. Does he/she need a support cane and if so, what type is needed etc.

All students with low vision displayed that they were not schooled in night travel.

3.3 There is no evaluation after training and appropriate recommendations are not given to students. These components are not included to the O&M teacher training program and curriculum.

3.4 All of these students feel challenged when travelling in unfamiliar places or environments with strange or new sounds, or at night.

4. Concerning the exchange environment between teachers and trained students. So far, there have been no exchanges between teachers and students to share experience. The discussions mainly focused on commenting on the performance of students instead of being a two-way discussion.

4.1 Although all of the teachers insisted that they had exchanges with students, only 64% students said teachers had discussions with them on their health before the training sessions whereas 28% said it depended and happened randomly. 80% students said that O & M teachers just introduced the situation and asked students to respond to their questions. Only a small number of teachers presented the situation and initiated a dialogue with students to obtain their support. Therefore, we might say that in the majority of the exchanges teachers are not paying sufficient attention to the students health as well as the challenges they might encounter during the travel route of the lesson etc. We conclude that the methodology is traditional or pedagogic ‘teacher-centered’ instead of ‘student-centered’ whereas O & M is an education and rehabilitation method which needs ‘individual interest’ (i.e. adragogic).

4.2 There was only one instructor who did not want to exchange with colleagues, 36% students never had an opportunity to exchange with their peers because for instance, “did not have suitable friends,” “studied too hard and had no time” or “learning O & M suspended”, when “I was trained, I was just 11 or 12 years-old”, and so on. 44% wanted periodical workshops because they liked to have face-to-face meetings.

In summary the survey showed that the general situation of O & M education in Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring provinces is faced with many challenges. O & M teachers have not been trained professionally or efficiently, the curriculum is not appropriate and instruction and learning did not meet the needs of individuals’ development because there is no proper assessment and evaluation process. The exchange beween teachers and learners as well as the ‘teacher-centred’ method caused challenges to students in applying O&M techniques in their daily lives. However, students desire to have more open exchanges with their teachers and peers about the training resource teachers and the development of the O&M in future.


From the above results, we would like to make the following recommendations for training O & M resource instructors in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam:

1. All teachers need to have a systematic training in, specially, Foundations of Orientations & Mobility and a knowledge of the medical aspects of disability in children (which can be learnt from text books or via searches on the internet)

2. Teachers need more visual training in O & M They need training in O & M assessment techniques and tools (they currently apply assessment for literacy learning). They need new techniques or skills, such as introduction to kinds of sound (especially echolocation) and O&M of visually impaired children with multiple disabilities

3. 60 hours of O & M training for the whole class to university students of Special Education is not sufficient without an O & M Foundation course to understand and practice basic O & M techniques

4. The widespread availability and accessibility of the internet enables participation from different regions of the country. We therefore recommend starting an e-forum run by a Vietnamese O & M professional to share experiences and post links to free O & M video clips from O & M listserv around the world to enable O & M instructors to learn and share ideas. Participants (including parents) to the e-forum can also raise questions for discussion with adult students with visual impairment. I propose DRD will be the host of the e-forum.

5. Find support to hold more workshops on experience exchanges between teachers and adults with visual impairment


This is the first independent survey conducted at the schools for the blind in Ho Chi Minh City and the neighboring provinces areas without the participation of the Association of the Blind. We expect after this survey that larger and deeper research will be done into understanding the current situation of O & M teaching and learning in Vietnam. But this is a small contribution for policy makers to consider on a subject which is recognized as a therapy in many countries for persons with visual impairment.


Blasch, B., Weiner, W., & Welsh, R. (Eds.) (1997) Foundations of Orientation and Mobility, 2nd Edition, p 634. New York: American Foundation for the Blind.

Kossick, R. (1970). Activating a program for the Blind in South Vietnam (P 25-52); American Workers for the Blind Annual Report

National Institude of Rehabilitation (before 1975 no date) Orientation and Mobility Training Manual

Hung Phi, Hang Thuy (2009) Grade 1-5, Nguyen DinhChieu School for the Blind

Viet, B, D, Le (2006) 40 Years of O&M – The Journey to Independence for People with Visual Impairment in Vietnam, The Educator, Vol XIX, issue 1, July 2006, The International Coucil for People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI)


Visual Impairment group, Department of Special Education, Univesity of Education HCMC 2009 Practicum for Senior Students









Lần cập nhật cuối lúc Thứ ba, 22 Tháng 6 2010 21:13  

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