Expanded Core Curriculum Resources

The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) provides a framework for instruction in a specialized set of vision-related skills for students who are blind or visually impaired. While students who are blind or visually impaired are expected to follow the same core curriculum as their sighted peers, there are certain areas in which they need specific instruction because of their vision loss. These areas are referred to as the Expanded Core Curriculum: Compensatory Skills, Orientation and Mobility, Social Interaction, Independent Living, Recreation and Leisure, Sensory Efficiency, Assistive Technology, Career Education, and Self-Determination.

Resources in this area deal specifically with ECC topics and concepts, or with Core Curriculum concerns specific to students who are blind or visually impaired. Additional resources are available in the specific topic areas.

A look at educational settings, curriculum, and some of the challenges in educating children with visual impairments

Source: National Federation of the Blind

This 185-page guide addresses the importance of self-determination, student involvement in the transition process, instruction and assessment, and much more (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Source: Council for Exceptional Children

This site's state-by-state menu makes it easy to locate, in one place, agency contact information for Accessible Information Materials and National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard(NIMAS) for your U.S. state or territory.

Source: National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

Susan Boswell and Debbie Gray outline 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.

Source: Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH)

The braille section of the Paths to Literacy site offers an overview, instructional strategies, pre-braille, tactile graphics, technology for braille readers, sources of print/braille books, tools for writing braille, braille production, and brailler repair. Users may post content, and there is also a forum for questions and answers related to braille literacy.

Source: Paths to Literacy

Practical suggestons for general education teachers who have students who are blind or visually impaired in their classrooms

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

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.

Source: Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind

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.

Source: Project SALUTE

Suggestions for classroom teachers serving students with low vision.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Suggestions for helping children develop the organizational skills necessary for success, both at school and in later life.

Source: Eyeway.org (India)

The CEC's Division on Visual Impairment and Deafblindness advances the education of children and youth who have visual impairments or deafblindness. Browse selected articles and position papers here.

Source: Council for Exceptional Children

"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.

Source: Art Beyond Sight

Link here to a text transcript of a slide presentation by Karen Blankenship and Mary Ann Siller. Download of the original PowerPoint presentation is also available.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

This page offers suggestions for helping young children develop greater independence in all areas of daily living, including mobility, toileting, eating, dressing and undressing.

Source: Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

In this video webcast, Dr. Karen Blankenship discusses the importance of using a combination of assessments: Functional Vision Assessment (FVA), Learning Media Assessment (LMA) and the Expanded Core Curriculum when assessing students with visual impairments.

Source: Perkins eLearning

Explains Expanded Core concepts from a parent's point of view, with additional advice from experts on individual ECC areas. Also available in Spanish.

Source: FamilyConnect

Overview of the ECC, with a listing of subjects and skills.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind

This 42-page PDF manual is excellent for families, administrators, and general education teachers who need to understand how educational services are delivered to students with visual impairments 

Source: Virginia Department of Education

Video resumes are a way to show potential employers a student's abilities and achievements. This 2-page fact sheet lists tips for creating an effective video resume, a particularly effective way to document the abilities and achievements of students with severe disabilities.

Source: California Deaf-Blind Services

The reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on Dec. 3, 2004 and ensures “services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.” 

Source: U.S. Department of Education

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