Expanded Core Curriculum

Two students work together to make ice cream with help from their teacher.
Two students work together to make ice cream with help from their teacher.

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. — American Foundation for the Blind

Expanded Core Curriculum for Students With Visual Impairments

There are nine Expanded Core Curriculum areas which include:

    1. Assistive Technology: can include electronic equipment such as switches, mobile devices, and portable notetakers; computer access such as magnification software, screen readers, and keyboarding; and low-tech devices such as an abacus, a brailler, Active Learning materials and equipment (e.g., Little Room®), and optical devices.
    2. Compensatory Skills: include skills necessary for accessing the core curriculum including concept development; communication modes; organization and study skills; access to print materials; and the use of braille/Nemeth, tactile graphics, object and/or tactile symbols, sign language, and audio materials.
    3. Career Education: information about jobs, assuming responsibility, punctuality, and staying on task.
    4. Recreation and Leisure: have opportunities to explore, experience, and choose physical and leisure-time activities, both organized and individual.
    5. Orientation and Mobility: enables students of all ages and motor abilities to be oriented to their surroundings and to move as independently and safely as possible, learn about themselves and their environments and incorporate skills such as basic body image, spatial relationships, and purposeful movement.
    6. Sensory Efficiency: includes learning to use vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste efficiently; addresses the development of the proprioceptive, kinesthetic, and vestibular systems.
    7. Social Skillsawareness of body language, gestures, facial expressions, and personal space and learning about interpersonal relationships, self-control, and human sexuality.
    8. Self-Determination:  includes choice-making, decision-making, problem solving, personal advocacy, assertiveness, and goal setting.
    9. Independent Living (Activities of Daily Living): the tasks and functions people perform in daily life to increase their independence and contribute to the family structure and include personal hygiene, eating skills, food preparation, time and money management, clothing care, and household tasks.

In 2007, the Iowa Department of Education formed a workgroup to create The Expanded Core Curriculum for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  This document that defines specialized instruction for students who are deaf and hard of hearing was finalized in August 2010 and is available at  https://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Special-Education-Services/Pages/Deaf-and-Hard-of-Hearing.aspx.

    1. Audiology: Understanding hearing loss, amplification management, and environmental management.
    2. Career Education: Career exploration and planning, occupational skills training, soft skills training, job seeking skills and money management. For the youth who are deaf they must also learn critical skills in arranging accommodations at the work site, learn how to use an interpreter in an interview and work setting.
    3. Communication: Auditory skills development, ASL development, speech development, receptive communication, and expressive communication.
    4. Family Education: Understanding hearing loss, amplification, family and child interactions, communication strategies, education/transition, and resources and technology
    5. Functional Skills for Educational Success: Concept development, comprehension, and study and organization
    6. Self-Determination and Advocacy: Self-determination, community advocacy, community resources and supports, cultural awareness, and using interpreters and transliterators.
    7. Social-Emotional Skills: Self-awareness (personal qualities), self-management, support networks, personal responsibility, decision making, social awareness, social interaction including conversation skills, and conflict resolution. 
    8. Technology: Skills necessary to access technology.

The Functional Scheme assessment tool can be very useful in evaluating or assessing skills related to the Expanded Core Curriculum.  Below is a chart showing which parts of the Functional Scheme might be useful in evaluation for the Expanded Core Curriculum and to help guide the development of goals and objectives for the ECC.

General  Area of KnowledgeExpanded Core Curriculum AreaFunctional Scheme
Self-concept, emotional skills
    • Social Interaction
    • Self-Determination (VI)
    • Social-Emotional Skills (DHH)
    • Social Perception
    • Emotional Perception
Fine, gross motor skills (especially use of hands, arms, legs, feet, mouth and body awareness)    
    • Compensatory Skills,
    • O&M
    • Recreation & Leisure
    • Independent Living (VI)
    • Gross Movement
    • Fine Movement
Foundational concepts related to all subject areas – object properties (size, shape, density, temperature, flexibility, color, weight, height, texture), functions
    • Compensatory Skills
    • O&M
    • Recreation & Leisure  
    • Independent Living
    • Career Education (VI, DHH)
    • Functional Skills for Educational Success
    • Language non-verbal, verbal, comprehension
    • Play and Activities
Receptive, expressive communication (speech, signs, symbols, print, braille, pictures, drawing), literacy, writing    
    • Compensatory Skills (VI)
    • Communication (DHH)
    • Auditory Perception
Audition – recognize, identify, localize sounds       
    • Compensatory Skills
    • Sensory Efficiency
    • O&M (VI))
    • Audiology
    • Communication  (VI,DHH)
    • Auditory Perception
Tactile exploration (including oral motor) and use of tactile sense
    • Compensatory Skills
    • Sensory Efficiency
    • O&M (VI)
    • Haptic-tactile Perception
Vision – perceive, locate, identify and track objects, people
    • Compensatory Skills
    • Sensory Efficiency
    • O&M (VI)
    • Visual Perception
Oral motor (related to speech and eating)   
    • Independent Living 
    • Compensatory Skills (VI)
    • Mouth Movement
    • Haptic-tactile Perception
    • Smell and Taste
Life Skills (related to being able to live independently)
    • Independent Living (VI)
    • Toileting Skills
    • Undressing & Dressing Skills
    • Personal Hygiene
    • Eating Skills

ECC and AL pin