EXPANDED CORE CURRICULUM (ECC) INSTRUCTION
By: Carmen Willings
The Expanded Core Curriculum addresses the knowledge and skills needed by students with visual impairments due to their unique disability and specific needs. The various areas of the expanded core curriculum provide educators with a way of addressing the needs of students with visual impairments as well as those with additional disabilities. The educational requirements of this population are not always met since the lack of vision is considered "minor", especially when the child is severely impacted by cognitive and physical disabilities.
Compensatory skills are those skills needed by students who are blind or visually impaired to access all areas of the core curriculum. All students need to be taught the skills necessary to access information within the standard core curriculum in order to be successful in mastering state and national education standards. Individualized instruction in compensatory skills will help the student who is blind learn about the world, communicate, and develop literacy. Compensatory skills include concept development, spatial understanding, study and organizational skills, speaking and listening skills and the adaptations required to fully access all areas of the general curriculum. This section provides information or skills and unique instruction to allow the student to access the core curriculum.
Communication modes fall under compensatory skills and incorporates skills needed by students who are blind or visually impaired. Some students will need instruction in the braille code in order to access print as well as handwriting and signature instruction. Additionally, students may require large print, use of optical devices, recorded materials, picture symbols, and more to support access to communication. This section provides information, suggestions and strategies in instructing persons in these areas.
Students who are blind or have low vision need to acquire a range of technology skills that will give them options for gathering and conveying information. Instruction in the use and maintenance of Assistive Technology is needed in the curriculum for students with visual impairments. This section provides information on a variety of AT devices as well as strategies for instruction.
Sensory efficiency skills includes instruction in the use of residual vision, hearing and other senses including use of tactual, gustatory, and olfactory input to identify one's personal possessions, or use hearing and other senses to identify people. This section provides information on ways to develop sensory efficiency.
It is important for the student to develop responsibility and independence in order to become the most independent and contributing member of their homes and communities that will promote social acceptance. This section provides information on ways to develop these critical skills.
Social interaction skills must be taught to students with visual impairments because they are unable to casually observe how people interact and socialize with one another. This section provides information on ways to help students develop positive social skills.
Orientation pertains to the students’ ability to get about in their immediate environment. This section provides information on orientation and mobility skills and techniques that are taught in order to help the student safely and efficiently move throughout their environment.
Career education is an essential area of the Expanded Core Curriculum as it provides the student with a visual impairment access to and understanding of careers they may not be aware. It also addresses the vocational skills students need to perform jobs and keep employment.
Recreation and leisure skills may include traditional as well as adapted physical education activities. This section will provide information on how to provide students with support in this area.
Self-Determination highlights the importance of believing in oneself, while understanding one's abilities and limitations.This section provides information on how to help students develop self determination skills.
The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is the body of knowledge and skills that are needed by students with visual impairments due to their unique disability-specific needs. Students with visual impairments need the expanded core curriculum in addition to the core academic curriculum of general education. The ECC should be used as a framework for assessing students, planning individual goals and providing instruction."
More ECC Resources...
Blindskills, Inc publishes DIALOGUE, a quarterly magazine in large print, Braille, email, NLS-compatible digital cartridge and four-track cassette tape: that is designed for blind youth and adults who are experiencing vision loss.
CANnect is a consortium of schools and philanthropists who provide courses designed toward people who are blind or visually impaired. Accessible and comprehensive online courses cover a wide range of subjects specific to visual impairments as well as the core curriculum and workplace tools like spreadsheets and word processing. CANnect solves problems for people with vision impairments so they can get on with learning.
Learning Ally is a national nonprofit provider of books in accessible format for people who cannot read standard print due to visual, perceptual or physical disabilities. Provides thousands of titles available on digitally recorded audio books, DC, and computer disk, including textbooks.
Cheryl Gannon with the NH Professional Development Center for Vision Education has put together a tip sheet that provides an overview of the core and expanded core curricula, including a look at who is responsible for the implementation of ECC.
Paths to Literacy provides resources and expertise to assist educators and families in providing literacy experiences for children who are blind or visually impaired. Information includes an overview of literacy and challenges specific to students who are visually impaired.