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Teach Me to Color outside the Lines

Posted in Apple Inc

On October 4, 2012, my husband and I, along with the rest of our team from Fedora Outlier, LLC will be giving a presentation in Macon, Georgia at the Georgia Academy for the Blind. Our presentation is based on the outline of skills provided in the Expanded Core Curriculum for individuals that teach the blind and visually impaired. Inquisitive minds want to know, how can the Expanded Core Curriculum help my blind or visually impaired child?

Let me explain briefly what the Expanded Core Curriculum is. Every child is expected to meet the guidelines of the “Core” curriculum such as Math, Language Arts or History by the time they graduate from high school. However, it is imperative to teach the blind or visually impaired student additional skills that are essential to their specific disability. The ECC includes such skills as Orientation and Mobility, Independent Living skills, Social Interaction and other skills that are crucial to the blind or visually impaired student if they are to lead a productive and independent life as an adult.

I know from personal experience that having the skills that the ECC includes along with the academic core is vital to a blind or visually impaired student.

I attended high school in a small town of north Georgia where I was the only visually impaired student in the entire county. My vision teacher at the time worked for several counties and I would only receive her services about once a month. Though the high school that I attended did the best they could to mainstream me, it eventually became necessary for me to attend the school for the blind in Macon, Georgia.

While attending the Georgia Academy for the Blind, I received daily orientation and mobility training in which I learned to use a white cane. I learned to navigate the campus and surrounding streets independently. In my Independent Living skills class, I learned to sew and cook simple meals using tactile methods to complete my tasks. And when it came to Social Interaction, well that is where I blossomed, gaining the confidence and self-esteem that I was not receiving at my mainstream school.

That was nearly twenty-five years ago. Today, education for the blind and visually impaired student has greatly improved by leaps and bounds. With the aid of assistive technology, adaptive equipment, the increase of vision teachers and programs such as the Expanded Core Curriculum, it is possible for the blind or visually impaired student to achieve their goals and dreams.

It may be necessary for the blind and visually impaired student to learn and interact socially using different methods. However, it is important for the educational professionals, parents and the student themselves to know that it is all right to “color outside of the lines.”

What are your thoughts about the Expanded Core Curriculum? Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment below.

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