Alabama School for the Blind

Image of a Child using a CCTV

ASB Expanded Core Curriculum

Career Education

Unemployment and underemployment is a leading problem facing visually impaired adults in the United States.  One disadvantage to the visually impaired is the lack of information about work and jobs that sighted students obtain through observation.  This makes Career Education a vital part of the expanded core curriculum.  Through Career Ed, students will have the opportunity to learn first-hand the work done in varying professions.  They will have the opportunity to explore their own strengths and interests in a systematic, well-planned manner through such programs as Career Cruising: a computer software program that enables students to identify, through a series of questions, which careers fit them the best.

Once students reach the age of 16, they may choose to participate in the Work Experience Program where students are matched with local businesses in an effort to gain valuable work experience.  A Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) is also available.  SWEP is a 6-week program during the months of June and July that places students in paid work experiences with companies in their home communities.  SWEP provides equal opportunity for students to gain valuable job-related skills and develop good work habits giving them the necessary tools to become productive members of society.  Every effort is made to secure student work sites that match their vocational interest and are in the student’s home community in order to connect with community resources and networks.

Orientation and Mobility (O & M)

As a part of the expanded core curriculum, orientation and mobility is a vital area of learning. Teachers who have been specifically prepared to teach orientation and mobility to blind and visually impaired learners delivery of this curriculum.  Extended Core Curriculum TECHNOLOGYDuring O & M, students will learn about themselves and the environment in which they move – from basic body image to independent travel in rural areas and busy cities. It has been said that the two primary effects of blindness on the individual are communication and locomotion. Through our expanded core curriculum, we place great emphasis on the fundamental need and basic right of visually impaired persons to travel as independently as possible, enjoying and learning from the environment through which they are passing to the greatest extent possible.

 Recreation and Leisure Skills

Physical education in the form of team games and athletics are the usual way in which physical fitness needs are met for sighted students. Many of the activities in physical education are excellent and appropriate for visually impaired students. However, visually impaired students need to develop activities in recreation and leisure that they can enjoy throughout their adult lives. Most often sighted persons select their recreation and leisure activity repertoire by visually observing activities and choosing those in which they wish to participate. At ASB, recreation and leisure skills are planned and deliberately taught to blind and visually impaired students focusing on the development of life-long skills.

 Self-Determination

Our mission at ASB is to provide visually impaired students a comprehensive education that develops each student’s maximum potential to become an independent, productive member of society.  There is no better way for our students to achieve success than by stressing and teaching self-determination or self-advocacy.  The importance of our students believing in themselves while understanding their abilities and limitations is our goal through this expanded core curriculum.  Through successes and sometimes failures, our students learn how to best reach their goals and take part fully in the world around them.

 Sensory Efficiency Skills

Learning how to integrate all remaining senses to counter the impact of any missing or impaired sense is integral for our students.  Sensory efficiency includes instruction in the use of residual vision, hearing, and the other senses.  It could be learning how to use optical devices by visiting ASB’s Low Vision Lab or  learning to use tactual, gustatory, and olfactory input rather than visual cues to identify one’s personal possessions.

 Social Interaction Skills

Most if not all social skills used by sighted children and adults have been learned by visually observing their environment, and behaving in socially appropriate ways based on that information. Social interaction skills are not learned casually and incidentally by blind and visually impaired individuals as they are by sighted persons. Social skills must be carefully, consciously, and sequentially taught to blind and visually impaired students. Through activities provided at ASB such as basis etiquette classes, a student leadership council and exposure to numerous community-based functions, appropriate social interaction skills are developed which can mean the difference between social isolation and a fulfilling life as an adult.

DSC_0295Independent Living

The goal of every good school is to help children grow into happy, productive adults.  After graduation, some ASB students will return home and find jobs.  Others might live at home and attend a nearby college or university.  But for some students, life after school means independence – and we want to help make that transition a successful one.  While instruction in home economics and related subjects are taught during the school day, actual hands-on experience in home and personal management is needed in a practical environment. A new 5,500 square foot facility allows students access to develop these crucial skills which include money management, time management, organization, food preparation and more.

Semi-independent living quarters allow students some flexibility, and an independent living apartment lets them stretch their wings.  Students in the independent living program have a little less supervision and a lot more responsibility for taking care of themselves – good practice for when they leave high school.

Compensatory/Functional Academic Skills

Compensatory and functional skills include such learning experiences as concept development, spatial understanding, study and organizational skills, speaking and listening skills, and adaptations necessary for accessing all areas of the existing core curriculum. Communication needs will vary, depending on degree of functional vision, effects of additional disabilities, and the task to be done. Students at ASB may use Braille, large print, print with the use of optical devices, regular print, and/or recorded materials to communicate. Each student receives instruction from a highly qualified and trained teacher in each of the compensatory and functional skills they need to master.

Social Interaction Skills

Most if not all social skills used by sighted children and adults have been learned by visually observing their environment, and behaving in socially appropriate ways based on that information. Social interaction skills are not learned casually and incidentally by blind and visually impaired individuals as they are by sighted persons. Social skills must be carefully, consciously, and sequentially taught to blind and visually impaired students. Through activities provided at ASB such as basis etiquette classes, a student leadership council and exposure to numerous community-based functions, appropriate social interaction skills are developed which can mean the difference between social isolation and a fulfilling life as an adult.

Recreation and Leisure Skills

Physical education in the form of team games and athletics are the usual way in which physical fitness needs are met for sighted students. Many of the activities in physical education are excellent and appropriate for visually impaired students. However, visually impaired students need to develop activities in recreation and leisure that they can enjoy throughout their adult lives. Most often sighted persons select their recreation and leisure activity repertoire by visually observing activities and choosing those in which they wish to participate. At ASB, recreation and leisure skills are planned and deliberately taught to blind and visually impaired students focusing on the development of life-long skills.

Career Education

Unemployment and underemployment is a leading problem facing visually impaired adults in the United States.  One disadvantage to the visually impaired is the lack of information about work and jobs that sighted students obtain through observation.  This makes Career Education a vital part of the expanded core curriculum.  Through Career Ed, students will have the opportunity to learn first-hand the work done in varying professions.  They will have the opportunity to explore their own strengths and interests in a systematic, well-planned manner through such programs as Career Cruising: a computer software program that enables students to identify, through a series of questions, which careers fit them the best.

Once students reach the age of 16, they may choose to participate in the Work Experience Program where students are matched with local businesses in an effort to gain valuable work experience.  A Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) is also available.  SWEP is a 6-week program during the months of June and July that places students in paid work experiences with companies in their home communities.  SWEP provides equal opportunity for students to gain valuable job-related skills and develop good work habits giving them the necessary tools to become productive members of society.  Every effort is made to secure student work sites that match their vocational interest and are in the student’s home community in order to connect with community resources and networks.

 Technology

Technology –  the great equalizer.

Technology is a tool to unlock learning and expand the horizons of students and occupies a special place in the education of our students. For a Braille user, it provides the ability of storing and retrieving information and can bring the library right to their fingertips.  At ASB, technology enhances communication and learning through numerous types of software and mobile applications (apps) thus leveling the playing field for blind and visually impaired individuals.  Through numerous state and private grants, ASB is able to provide iPads for all visually impaired students in grades 8-12, iPods for blind students grades 8-12,  Netbooks to all 7th graders and has access to the latest in technological advances.

Sensory Efficiency Skills

Learning how to integrate all remaining senses to counter the impact of any missing or impaired sense is integral for our students.  Sensory efficiency includes instruction in the use of residual vision, hearing, and the other senses.  It could be learning how to use optical devices by visiting ASB’s Low Vision Lab or  learning to use tactual, gustatory, and olfactory input rather than visual cues to identify one’s personal possessions.

Self-Determination

Our mission at ASB is to provide visually impaired students a comprehensive education that develops each student’s maximum potential to become an independent, productive member of society.  There is no better way for our students to achieve success than by stressing and teaching self-determination or self-advocacy.  The importance of our students believing in themselves while understanding their abilities and limitations is our goal through this expanded core curriculum.  Through successes and sometimes failures, our students learn how to best reach their goals and take part fully in the world around them.

 Compensatory/Functional Academic Skills

Compensatory and functional skills include such learning experiences as concept development, spatial understanding, study and organizational skills, speaking and listening skills, and adaptations necessary for accessing all areas of the existing core curriculum. Communication needs will vary, depending on degree of functional vision, effects of additional disabilities, and the task to be done. Students at ASB may use Braille, large print, print with the use of optical devices, regular print, and/or recorded materials to communicate. Each student receives instruction from a highly qualified and trained teacher in each of the compensatory and functional skills they need to master.

[gview file=”http://aidb.app2.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/SWEP-Brochure-2013-2014CareerEducation.pdf”]