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Ohio Guidelines for Working with Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Role of the Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) in Assessment and Evaluation


Orientation and Mobility (O&M) involves the ability to know where you are and where you want to go in a safe and efficient manner. This can be done independently or with support. O&M is recognized in IDEA as a related service, which may be required to assist a learner with a visual impairment in benefiting from special education. Certified COMSs provide services that enable learners who are visually impaired to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement in school, home, and community environments. COMSs are critical members of the team for students with visual impairments who have identified O&M needs.

COMSs have graduated from a certified program in O&M. Graduate students completing an O&M program must pass an O&M certification exam through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP). Further, in Ohio, a COMS who works with preschool and school-age students is required to hold a Pupil Services: Orientation and Mobility license through the Ohio Department of Education.

The COMS has many roles, including:

Assessment and Evaluation

  • Assisting in conducting the functional vision assessment when appropriate,
  • Conducting the O&M assessment, and
  • Evaluating student progress and providing progress notes as per school district/agency policy.