ecc AL collage

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. (The Expanded Core Curriculum for Blind and Visually Impaired Children and Youths, AFB website)

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 Skills: awareness 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: 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.

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

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

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

Language non-verbal, verbal, comprehension

Play and Activities

Receptive, expressive communication (speech, signs, symbols, print, braille, pictures, drawing), literacy, writing     Compensatory Skills Auditory Perception
Audition - recognize, identify, localize sounds       

Compensatory Skills,

Sensory Efficiency,  O&M

Auditory Perception
Tactile exploration (including oral motor) and use of tactile sense

Compensatory Skills,

Sensory Efficiency,  O&M

Haptic-tactile Perception
Vision – perceive, locate, identify and track objects, people

Compensatory Skills,

Sensory Efficiency, O&M

Visual Perception
Oral motor (related to speech and eating)   

Independent Living &

Compensatory Skills

Mouth Movement

Haptic-tactile Perception

Smell and Taste

Life Skills (related to being able to live independently) Independent Living

Toileting Skills

Undressing & Dressing Skills

Personal Hygiene

Eating Skills