In recent years additional educational experiences beyond the Core Curriculum have been determined to be necessary for many students who have a visual impairment. These curriculum areas are called the “Expanded Core Curriculum".
The following are the subjects and skills that students who are visually impaired are taught to enable them to study the basic educational curriculum along with their sighted classmates:
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.
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
Social interaction—skills needed to respond appropriately and participate actively in social situations, such as:
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
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.
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
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
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
Self-determination—skills to enable students to become effective advocates for themselves based on their own needs and goals.
Although this may seem like a lot for any child to accomplish, the child's educational team will decide which of these skills the child needs to focus on at any given time.