Orientation & Mobility specialists in Manitoba have been hosting and participating in an annual professional development activity for over 20 years. This event, known as the M.O.M. (Manitoba Orientation & Mobility) Conference, was held in Brandon Manitoba on June 3rd and 4th. The theme for this year was ‘Access in the Community’. On Thursday, Michael Goehring, field rep for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, discussed dog guide issues specific to rural and urban Manitoba. Friday saw an excellent presentation on audible signals by Judy Redmond, Universal Design Co-ordinator for the City of Winnipeg, Jonathan Foord, Traffic Signals Asset Management Engineer and Jody Morgan, Traffic Signals Maintenance Analyst. Participants came away with valuable information as well as an appreciation for the complexity of universal design issues.
The conference has always included a hands-on (and blindfolds on!) component. Participants worked in groups of two or three and practiced city bus travel. Two Brandon high school students joined the conference for lunch and supplemented this practical activity by reflecting on their experiences with transit travel.
The M.O.M Conference is attended by almost all of Manitoba’s O&M specialists as well as others in the field of visual impairment (we have occasionally had representation from North Dakota as well!) We are a small but dynamic group of professionals, and would welcome those from neighbouring provinces and states to attend our event next year.