PSU receives $1.2 million grant for orientation and mobility tra - KPTV - FOX 12

PSU receives $1.2 million grant for orientation and mobility training

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, according to the university.

The grant was awarded to develop a new certificate program for orientation and mobility specialists to instruct blind or visually impaired students.

Portland State is calling the program Project COMET, Certified Orientation and Mobility Educators in Training.

Over the next five years, the program will prepare 38 specialists to help individuals who are blind or visually impaired develop the skills necessary for independent and safe travel within their homes, workplaces and communities.

This program will be linked to the existing PSU Visually Impaired Learner program,

According to PSU, special education faculty members Holly Lawson and Kathryn Botsford will lead the project, in partnership with state liaisons and professionals within the Pacific & Northwest Consortium for Vision Education, which includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Hawaii.

"This program will help fill a huge gap in providing additional orientation and mobility specialists," said Holly Lawson, director of PSU's Visually Impaired Learner program. "Currently, no training program for these specialists exists in the Pacific Northwest. We are excited about supporting regional capacity to better meet the needs of those with vision loss."

Project COMET offers an add-on endorsement for teachers of students with visual impairments, a single orientation and mobility certificate, and dual training tracks.

According to Portland State, courses will mainly be online.

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