Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Rinyka Allision, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

John Mendes, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Angelo Letizia, Ed.D.


orientation and mobility, self-confidence, sequential learning, structured discovery cane travel


Sequential Learning (SL), the medical model of Orientation and Mobility (O&M)was designed for blinded WWII veterans in the 1940s. This preeminent curriculum monopolized the O&M profession, creating a paradigm paralysis, until Structured Discovery Cane Travel (SDCT) made its official debut in 1997. The conceptual framework for this study is Glasser's choice theory (1998) whereby ideas or systems of belief direct or oversee behavior, and this principle holds true for both O&M professionals and individuals who are blind or visually impaired (consumers). A comparison study answered the research question; that is, at what distance and frequency do consumers travel independently post-instruction and how does this differ between the two curriculums? Data was collected through a quantitative study in which 40 participants (20 SL, 20 SDCT) voluntarily responded to an electronic survey. Because of their increased frequency and distances traveled and their decreased need for additional training, study results revealed SDCT consumers’ self-confidence is higher than SL consumers by 32%. In addition, this study discovered when sighted guide instruction commences prior to introduction of the long, white cane (as in the SL curriculum); self-confidence is hindered and leads consumers toward the Custodial Paradigm. However, when instruction of the long, white cane and problem-solving is paramount (as in the SDCT curriculum); the foundation for ongoing successful O&M post-instruction is likely whereby consumers are lead toward the Independence Paradigm.