Resources for Blindness Professionals
Partners for Independent Travel
At Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) we are proud to partner with professionals in the field of blindness, including:
- Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialists
- Rehabilitation Counselors
- Independent Living Skills (ILS) Instructors
- Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired (TVI)
- Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRC)
- Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (VRT)
- Rehabilitation Techs or Teachers (RT)
- Assistive Technology (AT) Specialists
- Optometrists, and more!
Your services are an essential part of preparing individuals who are blind or visually impaired to be successfully partnered with a guide dog. We thank you for serving as our ambassadors, and for providing the critical skills that create the foundation for the enhanced independence, mobility, and inclusion that go along with the guide dog lifestyle.
Is Your Student/Client Ready for a Guide Dog?
Typically, candidates for working with a guide dog must demonstrate the following:
- Safe, independent travel to purposeful destinations
- A genuine need for a guide dog to enhance independent travel
- The desire to have the companionship of a guide dog
- The ability to care for a dog
- A safe and supportive home environment
Check out our resources below to learn more on guide dog readiness, and free GDB programs that could be good options for your students/clients on their journeys to the guide dog lifestyle.
If your student or client is ready to work with a guide dog, the next step for them is to complete our Guide Dog Program application. The application captures their basic information and asks for details of three of their established independent travel routes.
Once an application is received, our Admissions Department will schedule a phone interview to gather other pertinent details. If the candidate seems ready to commence training with a guide dog in our program, the next step will be to schedule a home visit and interview.
By the time a home visit is scheduled with your student or client, we would expect them to have finished orientation and mobility instruction and be a proficient traveler within their community and/or workplace. Although we request each applicant have a minimum of three established routes, we will only observe one route during the home visit. Typically, the applicant will be observed walking in one direction to a specific destination. The return route is a "Juno" walk/demonstration. (Juno is our term for a simulated walk with a guide dog - the person will be holding the handle of an empty guide dog harness and be led by the interviewer. Dogs are not used during the interview.) Basic guidework principles are introduced during this Juno walk. After basic instruction, your student/client will be evaluated on their ability to grasp and apply Juno concepts.
Following the home visit, your student/client will be notified regarding the next steps in their admissions process. Next steps may include confirming a class date, or your student/client may be asked to work on some specific orientation and mobility techniques and then reconnect with us once these are mastered.
Free Seminars for Orientation & Mobility Specialists
Guide Dogs for the Blind offers free seminars to teach Orientation & Mobility Specialists how to help prepare your clients for the guide dog lifestyle. Please plan to join us! Learn more at the link below.
Video Resources for Blindness Professionals
Guide Dogs for the Blind has a series of videos that could be helpful to blindness professionals in order to assist your students or clients in preparing for the guide dog lifestyle, or to assist students or clients already working with a guide dog. Please check them out at the links below.