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

Carol Castellano carol_castellano at verizon.net
Sun May 17 16:47:13 UTC 2015

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.


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 ( 
>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 
>list > >>blindkid at nfbnet.org > >>http://nfbnet.or 
>g/mailman/listinfo/blindkid_nfbnet.org > >>To 
>unsubscribe, change your list options or get 
>your account info > >>for blindkid: > >> > 
> > > > > 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 > > 
> > > To unsubscribe, change your list options or 
>get your account info for > > blindkid: > > > 
> > > > > > -- > Marianne Denning, TVI, MA > 
>Teacher of students who are blind or visually 
>impaired > (513) 607-6053 > > 
>_______________________________________________ > 
>  blindkid mailing list > blindkid at nfbnet.org > 
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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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