Robbin Keating Clark, vision rehabilitation therapist

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Robbin Keating Clark, vision rehabilitation therapist

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Robbin Keating Clark, vision rehabilitation therapistExpanded core curriculum coordinator, Utah schools for the deaf and the blind

Integrating the Expanded Core Curriculum



The Expanded Core Curriculum is a disability specific curriculum that is designed to address the unique needs of children with vision impairments. The Expanded Core Curriculum is a great idea that has gotten stuck in a box of myths and obstacles.What are the myths?What are some obstacles for teaching the ECC?

What is the Expanded Core Curriculum?



It is my experience that teachers are not completely familiar with the nine areas of the ECC. They seem to know an abbreviated version of it.Let’s review the nine areas the comprise the Expanded Core Curriculum:

A review of the Expanded Core Curriculum



Compensatory academics—critical skills that students need to be successful in school, such as concept development, organizational skills, speaking and listening, and communication skills such as braille or print reading and writing.

Compensatory Academics



Orientation and mobility—skills to orient children who are visually impaired to their surroundings and travel skills to enable them to move independently and safely in the environment, such as: human guide techniques (also known as sighted guide) using standard and adaptive canes recognizing cues and landmarks moving through space by walking or using a wheelchair requesting assistance

Orientation & Mobility



Social interaction—skills needed to respond appropriately and participate actively in social situations, such as: shaking hands turning toward others when speaking or being spoken to using language to make a request, decline assistance, or express a need expressing emotion and affection appropriately participating appropriately in conversations in various situations

Social Interaction



Independent living—skills needed to function as independently as possible in school and at home, including personal grooming, time management, cooking, cleaning, clothing care, and money management.

Independent Living Skills



Sensory efficiency—skills that help students use the senses, including any functional vision, hearing, touch, smell (olfactory) and taste (gustatory). Examples of sensory efficiency skills your child may learn include: using optical aids using augmentative and alternative communication devices using touch and vision to identify personal items using sense of smell to know when nearing the school cafeteria

Sensory Efficiency Skills



Recreation and leisure—skills to ensure students' enjoyment of physical and leisure-time activities, including making choices about how to spend leisure time actively participating in physical and social recreational activities trying new leisure activities following rules in games and activities at an appropriate level maintaining safety during leisure activities

Recreation & Leisure



Use of technology—skills to use devices such as computers or other electronic equipment that make it easier to function effectively in school, at home, and in the workplace.




Career education—skills that enable students who are visually impaired to move toward working as an adult, including exploring and expressing preferences about work roles assuming work responsibilities at home and school understanding concepts of reward for work participating in job experiences learning about jobs and adult work roles at a developmentally appropriate level

Career Education



Self-determination—skills to enable students to become effective advocates for themselves based on their own needs and goals.

Self-Determination Skills



Research has repeatedly indicated that a major factor in ECC instruction is lack of teacher preparation for the ECC.

Where can you find more information on understanding and explaining the ECC?

Resources for ECC content areas



Ever feel like this title? You’ve explained the ECC at IEP meetings, at parent meetings, with special ed directors, general education teachers and paraprofessionals and yet there is still NO buy in?What are we doing wrong?Think back to the myths about the Expanded Core CurriculumIt’s too easy to lump vision impairment into the general disability atmosphere

TVI: “I’ve explained the ECC every school year and still there is no buy in from the general education teachers!!”



Put together a better handout with useful meaningful information about the Expanded Core Curriculum. What to include in the handout:Clear information about what the Expanded Core Curriculum is (go to informational sites such as ECC is a disability specific curriculum (see The National Agenda)How the school and home collaborate in instruction (see next slide)The exclusive responsibility of the Special Education DirectorSpecific responsibilities of the education team (includes related services)




How to use Family Connect…



Engage the parents. Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum is not limited to teaching at school. Parents can’t teach everything at home but ask parents what can they teach or support?What are parents willing to work on at home?Shared meaningful goals between parents and child?Take time at the beginning of the year to lay out who will be responsible for what.




Stop giving the impression that both the Core and the Expanded Core are taught in isolation.

It’s not just “something else” that has to be taught if there’s time.How can we teach both the Core and Expanded Core at the same time? Classroom exampleRelated services exampleExtra curricular activities example




Teach the paraprofessional!“The paraprofessional should learn to come in and fade out as needed, rather than hover over and smother students.”Paraprofessionals working with students with visual impairments need additional training. They need to know about a particular student's visual impairment and how that impairment will affect learning. They need to know how to modify materials for that student. They may need to know the braille code. They may need to know how to use a computer to assist in producing braille. They may need to know about the technology a child is using so they can help troubleshoot. They may need to know how a child should use a particular low vision device. They need to know basic orientation and mobility techniques, such as sighted guide. They may need to know how to help a student organize her space. They need to know how to deal with a student's emotional responses to being different. They need to know how to reinforce social skills and daily living skills. -- The Paraprofessional Working with Students with Visual Impairments By Jim Durkel, Statewide Staff Development Coordinator with help from Cyral Miller, Outreach Director TSBVI, Outreach Program







Check out my blog!

The focus is the Expanded Core Curriculum


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