Factors hindering teaching of orientation and mobility to students who are visually impaired in Thika Primary School for the visually impaired Kenya
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The study was about orientation and mobility, which enable persons with visual impairment to move about and be in control of their environment. The problem of the study was to investigate the factors hindering teaching of orientation and mobility to students who were visually impaired in Thika Primary School for the Visually Impaired. The design was a descriptive survey study, which attempts to describe characteristics of subjects, phenomena, opinions, attitudes, preferences and perceptions of persons of interest to the researcher. For the purpose of the study, the target population was the head teacher, 27 teachers and 107 standard four to eight students of Thika School for the Visually Impaired. A purposive sampling technique was applied to identify the target population. Data was collected using two instruments, questionnaires and classroom observation schedule, all personally designed and developed by the researcher. Data was analyzed qualitatively, findings from the study showed that, 59% of the teachers supported the orientation and the mobility skill to be very important skill to be taught to students who are visually impaired. Despite of 81% of the teachers trained as mobility instructors, data revealed that orientation and mobility lessons were not included in the school timetable by 74% and 56% of the teachers confirmed that there were no enough mobility canes for training. In relating the researcher's findings, it was quite clear that there was need for the subject to be taught to students who are visually impaired before leaving primary education because most of them end their education at primary school level, hence they ended up in communities which had many places to interact with. The provision of mobility canes after class eight were vital in their daily living; they needed them permanently for individual use. From the research it was confirmed that the teaching of orientation and mobility was not effective in the school for the visually impaired due to shortage of instructors and enough mobility cane. The following recommendations were made; Teachers should give orientation and mobility training importance like other academic subjects and students to be encouraged to practice orientation and mobility skills. Ministry of Education to provide more funds to purchase for enough white canes.