Activities, Ideas, and Resources for Developing ECC Skills

Your child needs to study the same basic academic subjects that sighted children do, from how to tell time to how to write a persuasive essay. But to master these subjects (often known as the “core curriculum”) and complete their schoolwork—as well as to eventually live and work independently—children who are blind or low vision usually need to learn an additional set of skills known as the “expanded core curriculum.”

Specific Skills

They are sometimes also referred to as “disability-specific skills” or “vision-related skills” because they are useful specifically for individuals who are blind or low vision. They may include activities such as:

  • using braille to read and write instead of reading printed books or using a pencil and paper to write
  • learning how to move about in the environment safely and independently, which is known as orientation and mobility (O&M)
  • knowing how to use specialized computer equipment and other technology devices designed for children with visual impairments; and
    learning how to use what vision they have effectively and efficiently.

The classroom teacher is responsible for teaching your child the basic academic curriculum. Still, because the expanded core curriculum covers the unique, specialized needs of students who are blind or low vision students, the subjects included within it should be taught by a teacher who specializes in working with students who are blind or low vision. This teacher is a pivotal educational team member working with your child.

ECC Subjects and Skills: Resources for Families

The following are the subjects and skills that students who are blind or low vision need specific instruction. These skills are taught to enable them to study the basic educational curriculum along with their sighted classmates.

A young boy wearing glasses with a smart brailer.

Assistive Technology

Technology is everywhere in today’s society—from the computer you are using to visit APH ConnectCenter to the debit card you used at the grocery store this morning to the remote […]

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Little toddler playing with fire truck equipment and dressed up in fireman outfit. 

Career Education

Skills that enable students who are blind or low vision to move toward working as an adult include:

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A student with supplies on his des organized into bins.

Compensatory and Academic Skills

What Are Compensatory Skills? Disability-specific compensatory skills refer to using strategies, techniques, and adapted materials that students with blindness or low vision need to access the general education and common […]

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A girl sitting on the floor putting her shoes on.

Independent Living

What Are Independent Living Skills (ILS)? This area of the expanded core curriculum (ECC) is often called “daily living skills.” It consists of the tasks and functions people perform in […]

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Two adults facing two children holding canes outside on a sidewalk.

Orientation and Mobility

Skills to orient children who are blind or low vision to their surroundings and travel skills to enable them to move independently and safely in the environment include:

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A teacher with several students at desks playing cards with a deck of braille cards.

Recreation and Leisure

Recreation and leisure are terms often used interchangeably. Both relate to what people choose to do in their free time, time that is not otherwise used for work, school, or […]

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A teen smiling holding her cane.

Self Determination

What is Self Determination? This area of the expanded core curriculum (ECC) highlights the importance of developing confidence. Self-determination involves the student identifying their own interests, values, and motivations, as […]

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A boy exploring a sensory wall with a paremt

Sensory Efficiency

What Is Sensory Efficiency? Sensory efficiency addresses the use of residual vision, hearing, and other senses to enable or enhance access to the environment. For example, learning how to use […]

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A group of students walking outside a school building. 

Social Interaction Skills

What Are Social Interaction Skills? Well-developed social interaction skills are critical for developing positive self-esteem, building relationships, and ultimately for acceptance into society. To communicate effectively with others, establish friendships, […]

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