For Parents - Curriculum at NMSBVI Residential
EXPANDED CORE CURRICULUM
expanded core curriculum produces a concept of the blind or visually
impaired person in the community. It is difficult to imagine that a
blind or visually impaired person could be entirely at ease
and at home within the social, recreational, and vocational structure of
the general community without mastering the elements of the expanded
core curriculum. What is known about congenitally blind and visually
impaired students is that, unless skills such as orientation and
mobility, social interaction, and independent living are learned, these
students are at high risk for lonely, isolated, unproductive lives.
Accomplishments and joys such as shopping, dining, attending and
participating in recreational activities are a right, not a privilege,
for blind and visually impaired persons. Responsibilities such as
banking, taking care of health needs, and using public and private
services are a part of a full life for all persons, including those who
are blind or visually impaired. Adoption and implementation of a core
curriculum for blind and visually impaired students, including those
with additional disabilities, will assure students of the opportunity to
function well and completely in the general community.
The Expanded Core Curriculum includes:
Compensatory or Functional Academic
Skills, Including Communication Modes
Compensatory and functional skills include such learning experiences as
concept development, spatial understanding, study and organizational
skills, speaking and listening skills, and adaptations necessary for
accessing all areas of the existing core curriculum. Communication needs
will vary, depending on degree of functional vision, effects of
additional disabilities, and the task to be done. Children may use
Braille, large print, print with the use of optical devices, regular
print, tactile symbols, a calendar system, sign language, and/or
recorded materials to communicate.
all social skills used by sighted children and adults have been learned
by visually observing the environment and other persons, and behaving in
socially appropriate ways based on that information. Social interaction
skills are not learned casually and incidentally by blind and visually
impaired individuals as they are by sighted persons. Social skills must
be carefully, consciously, and sequentially taught to blind and visually
impaired students. Instruction in social interaction skills becomes a
part of the expanded core curriculum as a need so fundamental that it
can often mean the difference between social isolation and a satisfying
and fulfilling life as an adult.
education in the form of team games and athletics is the usual way in
which physical fitness needs are met for sighted students. Many of the
activities in physical education are excellent and appropriate for
visually impaired students. In addition, however, these students need to
develop activities in recreation and leisure that they can enjoy
throughout their adult lives. Most often sighted persons select their
recreation and leisure activity repertoire by visually observing
activities and choosing those in which they wish to participate. The
teaching of recreation and leisure skills to blind and visually impaired
students must be planned and deliberately taught, and should focus on
the development of life-long skills.
a need for general vocational education, as offered in the traditional
core curriculum, as well as the need for career education offered
specifically for blind and visually impaired students. Many of the
skills and knowledge offered to all students through vocational
education can be of value to blind and visually impaired students. They
will not be sufficient, however, to prepare students for adult life,
since such instruction assumes a basic knowledge of the world of work
based on prior visual experiences. Career education in an expanded core
curriculum will provide the visually impaired learner of all ages with
the opportunity to learn first-hand the work done by the bank teller,
the gardener, the social worker, the artist, etc. It will provide the
student opportunities to explore strengths and interests in a
systematic, well-planned manner. Once more, the disadvantage facing the
visually impaired learner is the lack of information about work and jobs
that the sighted student acquires by observation.
and underemployment have been the leading problem facing adult visually
impaired persons in the United States, this portion of the expanded core
curriculum is vital to students, and should be part of the expanded
curriculum for even the youngest of these individuals.
Technology is a tool to unlock learning and expand the horizons of
students. It is not, in reality, a curriculum area. However, it is added
to the expanded core curriculum because technology occupies a special
place in the education of blind and visually impaired students.
Technology can be a great equalizer. For the Braille user, it allows the
student to provide feedback to teachers by first producing material in
Braille for personal use, and then in print for the teacher, classmates,
and parents. It gives blind persons the capability of storing and
retrieving information. It brings the gift of a library under the
fingertips of the visually impaired person. Technology enhances
communication and learning, as well as expands the world of blind and
visually impaired persons in many significant ways. Thus, technology is
a tool to master, and is essential as a part of the expanded core
Visual Efficiency Skills
visual acuity of children diagnosed as being visually impaired varies
greatly. Through the use of thorough, systematic training, most students
with remaining functional vision can be taught to better and more
efficiently utilize their remaining vision. The responsibility for
performing a functional vision assessment, planning appropriate learning
activities for effective visual utilization, and instructing students in
using their functional vision in effective and efficient ways is clearly
an area of the expanded core curriculum.
Based upon IEP team determinations the students will have the
opportunity to participate in activities of Independent living.
Opportunities for learning specific living skills and personal
independence are provided to students ages 5 to 21 through courses in
Independent Living Skills and experience in residential dormitories.
Independent living skills, leisure, recreational and vocational skills
provide the focus for these students. Students are involved in
activities of independent living throughout the day whether it is
dressing or vocational endeavors.
Areas of emphasis include the following:
Personal grooming and hygiene, including daily bathing, care of teeth,
and proper use of cosmetics and personal items.
Clothing care, including folding and hanging clothes, orderliness in
drawers and wardrobes, selection of appropriate clothing, laundry, and
minor clothing repairs.
General room-care, including making and changing beds, mopping floors,
Foods and kitchen skills, including shopping and food preparation,
menu planning, and personal eating skills.
Use and care of personal possessions and school property.
Earning and spending money for goods.
Personal management and organization.
Secondary education students have the opportunity to enter a simulated,
supervised Apartment Living Experience in the dormitory. Students will
be provided additional opportunities to refine their Independent Living
Skills (ILS) through a cottage program. Students must have successfully
completed the apartment living experience before being considered for
the Independent Cottage Living Program. The IEP Team will determine
participation, goals and objectives. Each student will be provided only
one cottage experience.
Orientation and Mobility (Independent Travel)
Independent movement is critical for all children with visual
impairments and physical impairments. Orientation and mobility skills
should begin to be developed in infancy starting with basic body
awareness and movement, and continuing into adulthood as the individual
masters skills that permit him/her to navigate the world efficiently,
effectively, safely, and gracefully.
Students and staff members are expected to travel with the greatest
possible degree of independence, assuming responsibility for their
personal safety while on campus or while engaged in school-sponsored
students will undergo an Orientation & Mobility assessment upon arrival
at NMSBVI, and annually thereafter.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will consider current and
future orientation/mobility assessments, as well as cognitive,
psychological, orthopedic, neurological, and other assessments in
determining which students need to use a mobility device to safely
navigate the constantly changing obstacles, elevations, textures, and
lighting conditions that will be encountered both on and off campus.
b. Orientation & Mobility
goals will be determined during the IEP process. However, specific
goals will be determined in consideration of the following precepts:
(1) Orientation &
Mobility training will be provided so as to achieve maximum safety
and independence in all environments and under all lighting
conditions typically encountered on and off-campus.
(2) Orientation &
Mobility training will be provided with the expectation that
students are responsible for their own personal safety at all times,
both on and off-campus.
& Mobility training will be provided with an emphasis on
comprehensive skill building/problem solving in preference to route
(4) The ultimate goal of
Orientation & Mobility training is to train students to function, to
the highest degree possible, as fully independent, self-sufficient
individuals, capable of navigating their environment independently,
with safety, skill, confidence, and grace.
determined to need a mobility device for independent travel will do
so as follows:
are required to use their canes on campus at all times with the
exception of the dormitory room.
(b) Sighted guide is
not considered to be independent mobility, and shall be used only
in rare circumstances, such as emergency medical situations,
adverse weather conditions, construction areas, high noise
environments, and the like. In such circumstances, sighted guide
will be used as a supplement to the mobility device, not as a
substitute for the mobility device.
studentís first cane is provided at no cost. Replacement canes will be
given as needed, provided that the Orientation and Mobility
Instructor/staff member involved feels that damage to their original
cane was caused by normal wear and tear from proper usage. If
neglect/abuse of property is suspected, the involved student(s) will be
required to pay for the replacement cane. Payment may be in the form of
money or community service.
Students who have demonstrated the necessary mobility skills and
maturity have the opportunity to earn a mobility card delineating their
level of independence. Current mobility card applications will be kept
in the Orientation & Mobility instructorsí offices. Mobility cards are a
privilege and not a license to leave campus upon demand. Staff have the
right and responsibility to withhold permission to leave campus when
appropriate. Only the Student Services Support Coordinator or the
studentís mobility instructor shall authorize revocation of mobility
cards for disciplinary purposes.