Students with multiple disabilities study the Core Curriculum along with their classmates, with accommodations such as tactile aids, alternate formats, and assistive technology. In addition, students with blindness or visual impairment require the Expanded Core Curriculum, with subjects unique to their needs: mastering appropriate literacy mediums, Orientation & Mobility skills, social interaction, leisure, and independence skills. In this section, families and educators will find information on classroom subjects in both the Core and Expanded Core Curriculum for students with multiple disabilities.
Provincial Centre: Special Education Technology
Focuses on the learning styles of children with visual impairments with and without additional disabilities and on early orientation and mobility development.
Perkins eLearning Webinar Series
A webcast featuring the expertise of Faye Gonzalez, a Teacher of the Visually Impaired as well as a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist. She explains the importance of pairing sensory activities and communication skills for more effective learning for children with visual and multiple disabilities.
Expanded Core Curriculum
This is "an assessment tool designed to pinpoint exactly how a child is currently communicating" and to assist in creating communication goals. This user-friendly online version is aimed at parents whose children have severe multiple disabilities; available in English and Spanish.
Communication Strategies for Children with Visual Impairments and Additional Disabilities Including Deafblindness
Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind
A wide range of teaching strategies used to provide effective instruction to students with visual impairments and additional disabilities is presented in this collection of video webcasts. Includes reflections on touch, tangible symbols, and creating communications portfolios for students.
Project SALUTE describes the hierarchy of communication symbols, from most abstract to most concrete. Color photographs of each of the eleven symbols are included; available in English and Spanish.
This information sheet provides a thorough introduction to tactile communication strategies, including general interaction tips, suggestions for encouraging communication, and requirements for a communication system; in English and Spanish.
Project SALUTE explains object cues, a "concrete means of supporting conversational interactions and language development." Included are examples, advantages, disadvantages, and specific strategies; available in English and Spanish.
This information sheet introduces touch cues, including their purpose, examples of their use, considerations, advantages, and disadvantages; available in English and Spanish.
This introduction to tangible symbols includes a definition, examples, considerations, and a list of advantages and disadvantages; available in English and Spanish.
Tangible Symbol Systems: Making the Right to Communicate a Reality for Individuals with Severe Disabilities
U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) – Ideas that Work, Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities
Charity Rowland and Philip Schweigert provide an in-depth introduction to tangible symbol systems, including their purpose, and their use for both receptive and expressive communication. They include information about how to get started and how to monitor and promote progress.
The articles in this section offer a wealth of information on alternate methods of communication, including symbol systems, schedules, and sign language.
Independent Living Skills
The Need for Targeted Instruction in Independent Living Skills in the Curriculum of Students with Visual Impairments (Lewis)
Council for Exceptional Children – Division on Visual Impairments (DVI)
This position paper by Sandra Lewis affirms that "the acquisition of independent living skills is crucial for the post-school success of students who are blind or who have low vision."
Blind People's Association
Published in India, this downloadable 152-page manual is universally useful for parents and caregivers of children who are visually impaired with additional disabilities. It includes a general introduction, guidelines, checklists of skills, and activities to enhance them; by Blind People's Association in collaboration with the Hilton/Perkins Program.
Toilet Training And Personal Hygiene
Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH)
TEACCH outlines the steps in toilet training, including assessment, physical structure, establishing a routine and communication system, and troubleshooting. A list of children's books about toilet training is included.
Down Syndrome: Health Issues
Kent Moreno lists a protocol for toilet training individuals who have a developmental disability, including data collection, the development of a schedule, cueing, and making the experience in the bathroom a positive one.
Art Beyond Sight
"Focused on dressing skills and self-expression through dressing … the [Dressing for Success] project integrates occupational therapy, daily living skills development, and art education to improve academic and functional performance…" Included are goals, objectives, and teaching strategies aligned with New York Learning Standards.
Perkins School for the Blind
In this webcast, Perkins Occupational Therapist Sue Shannon discusses the importance of mealtime skills in teaching social skills and concept development. Video demonstrations of pouring, serving, utensil use, and cutting include many practical tips and helpful strategies, with an emphasis on encouraging the child to be an active participant; close-captioned, includes downloadable PowerPoint slides.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA explains the nature of feeding and swallowing disorders, their signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
Career Education -- Prevocational Skills
Written by the brother of a teen with deafblindness, the author makes an excellent case for teaching functional skills that are founded in basic concepts and supportive of daily living tasks.
Perkins School for the Blind
This webcast presented by Dr. Mary Zatta uses closed captioning and a power point presentation to describe the purpose and components of a vocational portfolio. It lasts approximately 30 minutes and addresses the how's and why's of vocational portfolios, including development processes and effective contents.
California Deaf-Blind Services
This 2-page fact sheet lists tips for creating a video resumé, a particularly effective way to document the abilities and achievements of students with severe disabilities.