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Young girl displaying four paintings she created using bright colors. One is a castle. One is a field of flowers. One is flowers and sunrise. One is a hot air balloon.

Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC)

The Expanded Core Curriculum is vital to the success of a student who is blind or visually impaired in their educational program. All students learn the core curriculum of math, science, reading, social studies, language arts, etc. A VI student needs to learn all of the core curriculum in addition to learning the Expanded Core Curriculum. It is all interconnected. If the child does not learn all the components of the Expanded Core Curriculum then that child’s educational experience is diminished and the child is placed at a significant disadvantage to that of his sighted peers.

The Expanded Core Curriculum is composed of nine different essential elements that have been determined by professionals in the blindness fields as vital to the success of blind or visually impaired children in an educational setting. These nine components are as follows:


Reference: Understanding the Expanded Core Curriculum, Perkins School for the Blind. Click on link below to take you to their article.

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Compensatory and Functional Academic Skills

Compensatory and functional academic skills, including communication modes. Compensatory skills involve the adaptations necessary for accessing the core curriculum, which can include: braille, tactile symbols, sign language, and recorded materials.

Young boy wearing glasses, reading braille, with braillewriter beside him.
Little girl with cane standing bent over on the seat of a plastic playground ride.

Orientation & 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.

Social Interaction Skills

Since nearly all social skills are learned by observation of the environment and people, this is an area where students with vision loss need careful, conscious and explicit instruction.
Cooking lessons for a blind young man.
Blind young man baking Christmas cookies.

Independent Living Skills

This area includes the tasks and functions people perform in daily life to optimize their independence – skills such as personal hygiene, food preparation, money management, and household chores.

Career Education

Students with vision loss benefit most from an experiential learning approach. Structured visits to community sites and discussions with people who perform various jobs, enable them to understand concepts and specific skills that are needed to be successful in those jobs. Considering the national rate of unemployment or underemployment of working-age adults who are blind is 70% -75%, this area needs attention throughout the school years to help students with vision loss develop marketable job skills.

Blind young man with cane, graduate school, inclusive design
Blind child, assistive technology, TVI

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is a powerful tool that can enable students with vision loss to overcome some traditional barriers to independence and employment.

Sensory Efficiency Skills

Skills that help students use the senses – including any functional vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste – to access skills related to literacy and concept development.

Blind child, sensory experience, petting live bunny
Blind girl, wheelchair, choosing directions

Self-Determination

Skills to enable students to become effective advocates for themselves based on their own needs and goal.

Recreation & Leisure

Skills to ensure students' enjoyment of physical and leisure-time activities, including making choices about how to spend leisure time.

Blind child, blind young man, carnival, ride, big smiles