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

Carol Castellano carol_castellano at verizon.net
Sun May 17 22:58:10 UTC 2015


At 05:58 PM 5/17/2015, you wrote:
>Hi all. Yeah, the ECC has always bothered me for 
>the reasons others have described. While I do 
>think it is a well-intended way to promote 
>integration and independence for blind kids, the 
>idea of blindness as deficit that it promotes 
>actually feeds into the very custodialism that 
>stunts blind children's independence in the 
>first place. In particular, I wish there wasn't 
>so much emphasis on the things that blind kids 
>"cannot" observe, and instead, more attention to 
>the kinds of things we do naturally observe. The 
>blind kids and adults I know are not passive 
>beings who need to be fed all their knowledge of 
>the world by sighted translators. They are 
>curious, inquisitive, intelligent people who are 
>actively processing a lot of auditory and 
>tactile information, who are sensitive to 
>natural consequences of their behavior, 
>incentives and desire approval from their 
>parents and teachers, etc. We learn a ton about 
>socialization, career prospects, and many other 
>things by listening to conversations around us, 
>and by trial and error. Yes kids need guidance 
>to turn their observations of the world into 
>concrete knowledge and to build sound judgment, 
>but that goes for all kids. Most of the things 
>on the ECC are things that sighted children also 
>need to be taught. As I've stated in the past 
>here, I also have some beefs with the social 
>skills component of the ECC. I think the social 
>skills they emphasize tend to be ones that our 
>culture values such as gregariousness, charisma 
>and leadership, but there are other skills, like 
>empathy and trust-building, that are more 
>important for maintaining quality relationships. 
>In fact, many sociopaths and corrupt leaders 
>(think Hitler) are so destructive precisely 
>because they have such good "social skills". The 
>skills of empathy, respect, trust-building, etc. 
>can be learned through listening and sharing in 
>conversation with others and don't have to be 
>learned visually. There are some alternative 
>techniques blind people need to master for 
>handling social situations, such as knowing how 
>to start or enter a conversation without using 
>eye contact or how to find out what's going on 
>in a room. These skills may need to be taught at 
>first, but I don't think a school setting is the 
>best place for that, and blind mentors are 
>undoubtedly the best experts on these kinds of 
>alternative techniques. Further, as someone who 
>was subject to an IEP with a social skills 
>component, I can say that I think it is not a 
>good idea to grade a child on skills for which 
>there is not an objective standard. I 
>experienced self-esteem difficulties for several 
>years in childhood which I think came from being 
>labeled within my school as having poor social 
>skills. TVI's can facilitate the social skills 
>learning by introducing the family to blind role 
>models and facilitating opportunities for the 
>child to play with other kids and get natural 
>feedback on their behavior (especially blind 
>kids, who can often be the bluntest critics). 
>That said, if other parents on the list have 
>differing experiences, I'd be interested to hear 
>them. Arielle On 5/17/15, Marianne Denning via 
>blindkid <blindkid at nfbnet.org> wrote: > I agree 
>with this and will gladly help in any way 
>possible. > > 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 “p“part of the team† ­ 
>more >>>of a footnote or remiindder 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 studentnt† ­ >>>even  the 
>Family Connect website refers moree 
>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 â€ÅÅ“The TVIs 
>Theoretical Guide to the >>>ECC for Blind/VI 
>Students.† From what I >>>gather, the ECC was 
>put togeether by a TVI with >>>good intentions 
>( >>>www.abctx.org/blog/origins-of-the-expanded-c 
>ore-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 >>>“curriculumum† was really 
>geared towards >>>increasing TVI awarenness 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 movementÃt†
>. I have been aware of >>>it for over a decade & 
>a hhalf, & 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 the 
>skillsets >>>have a significant impact on their 
>child’s >>>independence. At the same time 
>they will >>>commplain that there is just not 
>enough time to >>>address everything. I̢۪m 
>going to wrap it up as >>>I can tellell I̢۪ve 
>headed into soapbox territory. >>>Final 
>thouhought: 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 
>their >>>children. > >> > >>_____________________ 
>_________ >>>_________________ > >>blindkid 
>mailing >>>list > >>blindkid at nfbnet.org > >>http: 
>//nfbnet.or >>>g/mailman/listinfo/blindkid_nfbnet 
>.org > >>To >>>unsubscribe, change your list 
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>blindkid: > >> > >>>http://nfbnet.org/mailman/opt 
> >>> >>> > > > > 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.or 
>g > > > > > > >>>________________________________ 
>_______________ > >>>  > blindkid mailing 
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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 >> >> >> 
>_______________________________________________ > 
> > blindkid mailing list >> 
>blindkid at nfbnet.org >> 
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>get your account info for >> blindkid: >> 
> >> > > > -- > 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
carol_castellano at verizon.net

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