From here to there: how to use the ECC to travel the highway of life.

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From here to there: how to use the ECC to travel the highway of life.

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From here to there: how to use the ECC to travel the highway of life.

Robbin Clark, MA

Expanded Core Curriculum Coordinator



Part One: The unique needs of students with vision impairments

Part Two: The Expanded Core Curriculum

Part Three: Teaching resources, tools and strategies


Part One:

The Unique Needs of Students with Vision Impairments


The unique needs of children with vision impairments

Group discussion:

What do we know about the unique needs of students with vision impairments?

What type of learning needs do students with vision impairments need?


The unique needs of children with vision impairments

Incidental learning is severely restricted

Vision is the primary learning modality and source of information for most children.

No other sense can stimulate curiosity, integrate information or invite exploration In the same way, or as efficiently and fully, as vision does.

The child who comes into the world without a dependable visual system, or without vision at all, has to navigate through the incomplete messages received through the other sensory modalities in order to put a whole picture of the world together. The visually Impaired child needs to determine how to organize this incomplete information and then respond to what may remain a confusing view of the world

The Unique Needs of the Visually Impaired Child, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired


The unique needs of children with

vision impairments

Impact of vision on development:

“Hearing is the only distance sense available to the blind infant, but the infant has no control over the presence or absence of sound in his environment. Sound without visual verification is only noise coming from nowhere. Only after much tactual, motor, and auditory interaction does sound acquire meaning. Only then can sound provide information about location, cause, or source.

   Sound is not the strong motivator that vision is. Not until approximately 12 months will a blind child reach for an object based on sound cue alone. Environmental exploration is usually delayed until the child reaches this point.

Source: The Impact of Visual Impairment on Development, Chris



Part Two: The Expanded Core Curriculum


THE NATIONAL AGENDA for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments Including Those with Multiple Disabilities is a national project aimed at achieving eight priority goals for improving the quality of educational services for children and youths with visual impairments.

The National Agenda project has benefited from an unprecedented grassroots effort by parents, professionals, and consumers since the fall of 1993. At the heart of the project are eight priority goal areas.

Goal 8: Educational and developmental goals, including instruction, will reflect the assessed needs of each student in all areas of academic and

disability-specific core curricula



The Expanded Core Curriculum

The Expanded Core Curriculum

There are experiences and concepts casually and incidentally learned by sighted students that must be




taught to the visually impaired student. The core curriculum for visually impaired students is not the same as for sighted students. Indeed, it is much larger and more complex.


The Expanded Core Curriculum

The Expanded Core Curriculum

The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is a

disability specific curriculum

for students with vision impairments.

It was created because students with vision impairments lack incidental learning.

It is taught at home, school and the community.

It is NOT a replacement to academic instruction.

The entire education team provides ECC instruction:

Special education teacher

Teacher for students with vision impairments (TSVI)

General education teacher




Compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes

Orientation and mobility

Social interaction skills

Independent living skills

Recreation and leisure skills

Career education

Use of assistive technology

Sensory efficiency skills


The Expanded Core Curriculum

The Expanded Core Curriculum


Group Discussion:

What is the

Expanded Core Curriculum

in real life?


Core + ECC= Quality of Life

We must help move our students from isolated lessons to the real world.

The ECC is the key!

The core curriculum offers the logic and academic piece but is nothing without the Expanded Core Curriculum.

Why do we miss the “big picture”?


What is the “Big Picture”?

The big picture is the

quality of life

our students will have when they leave the classrooms.

Unfortunately, vision professionals are in battle with decades of old myths and perceptions about vision impairment.


Part Three: Teaching resources, tools and strategies


Expanded Core Instruction Strategies

Identify where and how the integration of skills can happen

Our skills cannot be taught in isolation. They need to be taught as they naturally occur in the natural environment.

Generalization of skills is the mastery level we are seeking.

You cannot teach everything at one time but you can

provide experiences

that naturally provide teaching elements.


Teach through experience. Students need systematic and sequential experiences strung together for


concept development.

Identify areas of weakness as your long-term game. Identify areas of strength as your short-term game. Build on areas of strength to connect to areas of weakness.

3 areas that must get developed: problem-solving skills, self-determination and communication skills.

Get specific on what works and what does NOT work!

Develop a plan of independence/contract with each student. Review and tweak often. Hold them accountable. Empowerment!

Check that related services are providing instruction that is both therapeutic and meaningful.


3 C’s of Concept Developmentby Dr. Margaret Robinson


Concrete Experience:

their experiences need to be as real as possible, a real dog not a stuffed animal, models only when you can’t personally experience it.


Complete Experience:

if you make cookies, then your student has to be part of every step: buying the dough, prepare it, put them in the oven, the clean up. fragmented experiences created fragmented development


Connected Experiences:

perhaps you explore a car, then you explore another car-recall the details and compare and contrast the cars. where do cars go? how do you buy? you want to help develop more accurate development


Back Off and Step Up for the ECC!


-Big step back so students take a big step forward


-allow students process time or make mistakes


-Confidence in students' skills


-Keep to instruction or objective


-Support not solutions for students


-Take advantage of every teaching opportunity


-Explicit instruction


-Plan for instruction


ECC Teaching Tools & Resources

Texas School for the Blind (TSBVI) Independent Living Skills Assessment (ILSA)

ILSA provides great IEP goals and skills with age targets to guide teachers.

TSBVI EVALS: THE tool for ECC skills assessment

Check out the EXIT assessments

EA Rubrics:

The Independent Little Bee (and ECC blog!):

ECC Essentials from AFB Press

From School to College: A Transition Activity Calendar for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired:



TSBVI Elementary Concepts Curriculum

9MoreThanCore on Facebook and Instagram (different content, same name!)

TSBVI ECC Resources for Instruction and Evaluation

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