Compensatory access and functional academics is one of nine life skills kids with visual impairments and multiple disabilities learn through the Expanded Core Curriculum at Perkins. These are the skills students need to have in order to learn their academic curriculum. For instance, a compensatory skill for a student who’s are blind might be braille, which helps them learn how to read. Other examples of compensatory skills include tactile symbols, sign language and recorded materials.
Here, we’ll look a bit more about why compensatory access is such a critical part of the Expanded Core Curriculum, and a few of the important considerations for teaching it.
Compensatory access lessons teach students how to acquire, share and process information, including the general education curriculum, in ways that don’t require sight or other senses.
For example, a nonverbal student who has both vision and hearing loss might not be able to have spoken conversations. So to communicate, they might use a voice output device equipped with a keyboard and pre-loaded with frequently used names and phrases. And that device might be set up so when they tap a word or letter on the screen, the device reads it aloud. This, as the student’s main mode of communication, would be a compensatory skill, taking the place of typical verbal communication.
The Expanded Core Curriculum is built of of nine life skills Perkins students with visual impairments, deafblindness and additional disabilities learn on top of their core academics. It covers everything from using technology to independent living to socializing with peers — knowledge most sighted children acquire by observing everyday life. The Expanded Core Curriculum gives students who are blind, deafblind and have additional disabilities a toolbox of crucial skills they need to succeed at school, in social situations, at home, on the job and everywhere else.