[blindkid] Incorporating the Expanded Core Curriculum into thelives of visually impaired children at home

Marianne Denning marianne at denningweb.com
Sun May 17 17:01:55 UTC 2015


Here is a brief history lesson.  Well over 100 years ago, long before
the NFB, blind adults were teaching blind adults.  That developed into
"home teachers" which then became rehabilitation teachers.  In the
beginning, it was required that the teachers be blind.  After the
change to rehabilitation teachers the percentage of blind people in
the field has dropped.  I am not sure when or where TVIs entered the
picture.  I began school in a public school in rural KS in 1963 and
the school district had contact with a TVI.  At that time the home
teachers still worked with parents of blind children.  I remember
meeting my "very old" home teacher.  Mom had trouble teaching me to
tie my shoes so the home teacher gave her some ideas and they worked.
Then, in the 1970s we introduce public law 94-142 which provides for
children with "special needs" to receive education in the "least
restrictive environment."  At that time the home teachers, now
rehabilitation teachers, no longer worked with children of school age
because that was "the responsibility of the school system."
I think, if the home or rehabilitation teachers had been allowed to
continue working with the families we may not have all of these
problems.  Also, if the rehabilitation teachers were still required to
be blind.  It is a case where a college degree is more important than
life experiences.  I worked as a rehabilitation teacher and my boss
(sighted) was always telling me I was getting too involved in people's
lives.  I made the comment that this was not just a job for me, but a
way of life.  You would have thought I just made the most profound
statement on earth.  Now rehabilitation teachers are "vision
rehabilitation therapists."  Then don't even get me started on
vocational rehabilitation counselors.

Okay, history lesson over.  I do believe TVIs and all professionals in
the blindness field need to learn the history of the blind in the U.S.
On 5/17/15, Carol Castellano via blindkid <blindkid at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> So maybe it's time for a new document to be
> created by a REAL grassroots movement!
>
> Another soapbox warning:
>
> I can believe that this document was created with
> good intentions.  But I think it also came out of
> two less good intentions--first, out of the old
> custodial views of blindness and the view that
> professionals were the only ones who had the
> secret knowledge of how to teach blind people;
> and second, out of self-preservation for the
> field.  I think the creation of the document (and
> the whole "National Agenda") took place at a time
> when the inclusion movement was gaining momentum
> and threatening schools for the blind and also
> when subsidies for educating TVIs were being cut
> at the national level.  There was concern that
> there would not be enough TVIs and that the
> pressure for inclusion would eliminate the category as a specialty.
>
> I think a historic influence that was a major
> part of the development of the professional
> blindness field was that initially it was mostly
> about teaching newly blinded adults the skills to
> continue to live life.  There wasn't so much (or
> at all) a family component, as there would be
> with teaching children.  So the field and its
> practices developed in terms of working directly
> with and only with the blind client, rather than
> thinking about empowering parents or family
> members.  Thinking of parents as the natural and
> logical people to teach independent living,
> recreation, and career skills, on the other hand,
> is a direct outgrowth of the NFB and our
> self-help view and our position that blind people
> are the experts at blindness.  This is one of the
> ways in which our organization differs with others in the field.
>
> Okay, let me climb down now.
>
> Carol
>
> At 11:14 AM 5/17/2015, you wrote:
>>I too could go on & on about the ECC (& have),
>>as it virtually completely ignores the role of
>>the parent & blind mentors in achieving the
>>proposed goals of independence. References to
>>parents on the various websites that discuss the
>>ECC (TSVBI, AFB, Perkins, etc) are limited a one
>>line or so token acknowledgement to not forget
>>that parents are “part of the team† ­ more
>>of a footnote or remiinder for TVIs, importantly
>>without the appropriate emphasis on the critical
>>role of parents, family, local community & blind
>>mentors. The various sites above that discuss
>>the ECC refer over & over to “the student† ­
>>even  the Family Connect website refers more to
>>student & the role of the TVI in addressing ECC.
>>The ECC in its current form should really more
>>appropriately be called something along the
>>lines of “The TVIs Theoretical Guide to the
>>ECC for Blind/VI Students.† From what I
>>gather, the ECC was put together by a TVI with
>>good intentions (
>>www.abctx.org/blog/origins-of-the-expanded-core-curriculum)
>>after coming to the awareness that blind kids
>>were graduating from high school with the
>>academic accomplishments, but not the real life
>>skills needed to make it in the real world
>>(unfortunately still a very real issue). My
>>understanding is that the proposed
>>“curriculum† was really geared towards
>>increasing TVI awareness that the focus of
>>reaching independence for a blind child/student
>>needs to expand beyond just the academic
>>curriculum (this is a good thing ­ though
>>probably obvious to every parent on thhis
>>listserv). The ECC is often described as a
>>“grass roots movement†. I have been aware of
>>it for over a decade & a half, & from what I
>>have seen, it has remained the same static
>>document with unfortunately little evolution.
>>The ECC seems to be gathering increased
>>acknowledgement & acceptance at the level of the
>>TVIs in California, though few general ed
>>educators are aware of it. (Disclaimer: the
>>following is not likely to apply to most of the
>>TVIs, O&Ms, & other blindness educators on this
>>listserv, but is more of a global generalization
>>based on my observations in many forums over the
>>years). My observation is that when the ECC
>>comes up TVI conferences there is a general
>>tendency for TVIs to assume its all up to them;
>>I often get the sense that they either seem to
>>feel & a number will even state that parents
>>“don't get it† & don't possess the skillsets
>>have a significant impact on their child’s
>>independence. At the same time they will
>>complain that there is just not enough time to
>>address everything. I’m going to wrap it up as
>>I can tell I’ve headed into soapbox territory.
>>Final thought: Like it or not, the ECC does seem
>>to be gathering traction in the TVI world; if it
>>is going to be used as a guide to be implemented
>>it needs to be reshaped & frankly rewritten to
>>not only include the TVI teacher prospective,
>>but critically the parent & blind community
>>perspectives. Sincerely, An Involved Parent of 2
>>Blind kids with High Expectations On Sun, May
>>17, 2015 at 7:29 AM, Marianne Denning via
>>blindkid < blindkid at nfbnet.org> wrote: > Carol,
>>I tell all of my families about NFB and the
>>parents' > organization.  I also strongly
>>recommend your book because I know it > is the
>>truth.  Mom had the NFB philosophy when she was
>>raising me even > though I doubt she ever heard
>>of the NFB. I am also a TVI who sets the > bar
>>very high for all of my students.  I have helped
>>change a few > parents' opinions about their
>>child's abilities. But there is so much > to
>>do.  I think the expanded core curriculum is
>>professionals trying > to answer a problem they
>>have noticed for many years.  I love your >
>>ideas for changing the wording.  I don't think
>>of braille as a > compensatory skill.  It is how
>>I read the written word. > > On 5/17/15, Carol
>>Castellano via blindkid <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
>>wrote: > > Yes and this is why it's so important
>>for parents to find us and see > > role
>>models.  First comes the awareness that these
>>things can be > > done, then the expectations
>>get raised, then people learn how. > > > >
>>Carol > > > > At 07:55 PM 5/16/2015, you
>>wrote: > >>Hi Marianne this is a good point.  I
>>can't believe that some parents > >>just won't
>>teach independent living skills at home.  I
>>understand > >>that some of them probably don't
>>know what to teach their
>>children. > >> > >>______________________________
>>_________________ > >>blindkid mailing
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>>
>> > > > > Carol Castellano > > Parents of Blind
>>Children-NJ > > Director of Programs > >
>>National Organization of Parents of Blind
>>Children > > 973-377-0976 > >
>>carol_castellano at verizon.net > >
>>www.blindchildren.org > >
>>www.nopbc.org > > > > > >
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>>
>> > > > > > -- > Marianne Denning, TVI, MA >
>>Teacher of students who are blind or visually
>>impaired > (513) 607-6053 > >
>>_______________________________________________ >
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>>
>
> Carol Castellano
> Parents of Blind Children-NJ
> Director of Programs
> National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
> 973-377-0976
> carol_castellano at verizon.net
> www.blindchildren.org
> www.nopbc.org
>
>
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-- 
Marianne Denning, TVI, MA
Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired
(513) 607-6053




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