Melanie White's Advice on Orientation and Mobility Skills
Melanie graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1977 with a B.S. in Education with a double major in Orientation and Mobility/Rehabilitation. She began her career in rehabilitation at the Fort Worth Lighthouse for the Blind teaching O&M to adults and children in the Fort Worth Independent Schools. She later worked for Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD), Dallas Services for Children with Visual Impairments, and Arlington ISD before starting her own business, Have Cane Will Travel, Inc. Melanie currently works as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) for the Bluebonnet Co-op for Students with Visual Impairments in Weatherford, Texas.
Melanie states she has always been thankful for three experiences in particular that have molded her approach to O&M: 1) working with adults to see what skills are needed day to day and for work which helped prioritize skills for students she serves; 2) learning how the brain works from Dr. Erin Bigler, a neuro-psychologist ("It continues to amaze me how intricate our brain is."); and 3) working exclusively with young children at Dallas Services to see where the journey begins and the impact on the family. Working at Dallas Services also gave her a concentrated experience working with other professionals that contribute to the development of children such as classroom teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists.
Melanie is actively involved with the Environmental Access Committee with AER representing Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. She currently serves as an O&M mentor with the Outreach Program through the Texas School for the Blind. She has also served in various board positions with Texas AER and the O&M Division of Texas AER.
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