Common Core / Curriculum

The Core Curriculum refers to the body of knowledge and skills that is taught to students in school. For children whose only disability is visual impairment, this is generally an academic curriculum, with adaptations. For students with additional disabilities, the curriculum will still be aligned with the general curriculum, but with more significant modifications.

Because the basic core curriculum does not include the special skills that students who are blind or visually impaired must be taught, the Expanded Core Curriculum is an essential part of a student's education.

The 6-foot relief globe in the Perkins History Museum was made for the school's students in 1837, and may be the oldest such globe in the United States.

Source: Perkins History Museum, Perkins School for the Blind

This 42-page PDF manual is excellent for families, administrators, and general education teachers who need to understand how educational services are delivered to students with visual impairments 

Source: Virginia Department of Education

The reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on Dec. 3, 2004 and ensures “services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.” 

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Examples of accessible biology lessons are provided by experienced teachers of the visually impaired.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

Science instructor Sara Larkin uses lesson plans in magnetism, electricity, and sound to demonstrate how inquiry-based learning can be modified for students with visual impairments.

Source: Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind

Includes both Math and ELA (English/Language Arts). These frameworks are based on the same Maryland Common Core Curriculum Frameworks that were adopted by the State Board and include the identified braille skills and expectations at each grade level (Pre-kindergarten through grade 12) for students who read braille. The standards provide a clear roadmap of braille instruction for teachers and parents to improve literacy skills for students who read braille.

Source: School Improvement in Maryland

The CEC takes an in-depth look at the implications of Common Core in terms of student characteristics, behaviors, and learning strategies.

Created by HGS Hinomoto Plastics of Japan, these kits will mature your molecular structure and chemical bond models beyond marshmallows and Tinker Toys.

Source: Tech Vision

NCDB is a national technical assistance and dissemination center for information about deafblindness. While most resources focus on the needs of children and youth, there is wealth of information here in the Adult Services section.

Maylene Bird and Karen Poston describe how to use brailled squares or dark lined large squares on a whole sheet of paper with binder clips to represent the dominant and recessive traits. They include diagrams that can be downloaded in various formats.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

Staff from Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) have created a series of lesson plans for teaching self-determination skills to students with visual impairments. As part of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC), Self-Determination is an essential part of the education of students with visual impairments. 

Scott Baltisberger, TVI / Outreach Education Consultant and Chrissy Cowan, TVI and Outreach Mentor Coordinator have posted the following lessons:

Unit 1:  The Eye and Sight


  •     What is an Eye?  (Lesson 1)
  •     How Does an Eye Work?  (Lesson 2)
  •     Everyone Has Different Eyes – Animals  (Lesson 3)
  •     Everyone Has Different Eyes – People  (Lesson 4)
  •     How is My Eye Special?  (Lesson 5)

Unit 2:  Student Toolbox


  •     How Does My Vision Affect My Access to Information?
    •         K-2nd Grade  (Lesson 6)
    •         3rd-12th Grade  (Lesson 7)
    •         My Personal Goals (Lesson 8 -all grades)
  •     Strategies for Increasing Access
    •         Strategies for Braille Readers (Lesson 9)
    •         Strategies for Print Readers (Lesson 10)
    •         Strategies for Using Audible Materials (Lesson 11)
  •     Strategies for Communicating with Others about Access
    •         Personal Preferences for Access to Visual Media (Lesson 12)
    •         Creating a Product to Communicate Visual Strategies/Tools with Teachers (Lesson 13)


TASH is "an international association of people with disabilities, their family members, other advocates, and professionals fighting for a society in which inclusion of all people in all aspects of society is the norm." Topics on their site include positive behavior support, inclusive education, communication, and community living.

A 51 page manual from 2000 full of tips for adapting science experiments for students who are blind or visually impaired. Written by Matthew Dion, Karen Hoffman, and Amy Matter from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. It includes sections on Teaching the Blind and Visually Impaired, General Guidelines for Making Adaptations, Laboratory Adaptations, Specific Experiments, and a Resource List.

Source: Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind

Maylene Bird and Karen Poston share ideas for creating a braille diagram of the cell cycle. The article includes step-by-step instructions and photographs of student-created diagrams.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

Paths to Literacy addresses the Core Standards in terms of literacy and learning medium

Source: Paths to Literacy

Phil Hatlen offers an introduction to the Core Curriculum and Expanded Core Curriculum, including information on the delivery of the core curriculum for blind and visually impaired students.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

The Legal Framework is a template that summarizes state and federal requirements for special education by topic. The Legal Framework includes an A-Z index, frameworks, a glossary of special education terms and acronyms, links to statutes, citations, websites, guidance and resources. Multiple features are translated into Spanish; however, legal citations reflect English only.

Source: Texas Education Agency

NIMAS is a national technical standard that requires learning materials be made accessible to students with print disabilities as quickly as possible. All NIMAS sources are easily converted into braille, audio, large print, and digital text. 

Source: National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

This one-page tip sheet identifies key components of best practices, including functional age-appropriate curricula, inclusion, behavior issues, transition planning, and parent involvement.

Source: Nevada Dual Sensory Impairment Project