Press Release: Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva’s Legislation to Help Visually Impaired Students Heads to Governor

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva’s Legislation to Help Visually Impaired Students Heads to Governor

SACRAMENTO, CAAssembly Bill (AB) 947 authored by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County), promotes education that will maximize the full potential of students who are visually impaired, passed and is headed to the Governor’s Desk.

“As a former teacher, I recognize the need for there to be no uncertain terms when students require additional resources and consideration to succeed,” said Quirk-Silva. “The fact that visual impairments fall into this category is obvious.  What is not always obvious is the full scope of redressing educational needs and attainment.”

The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is a set of knowledge and skills in which instruction or services, or both, may be beneficial to a pupil who is blind, has low vision, or is visually impaired.  The ECC includes skills in areas such as the use of braille or large print media, assistive technology, orientation and mobility, socialization, independent living, and sensory efficiency.

 

“School districts often fail to assess theses students for the need of one or more of these Expanded Core Curriculum skill areas and impose restrictions in schools that have an impact of preventing adequate instruction in ECC skills from being provided,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva.  “Orientation and mobility is one of the most important skill areas of learning for students who are visually impaired.  They should receive dynamic and vibrant information about themselves and the environment in which they move; from basic body image to independent travel.”

AB 947 authorizes local educational agencies to consider the needs for students who are blind, has low vision, or is visually impaired.  Additionally, if an orientation and mobility evaluation is needed, the bill requires the evaluation to be conducted by a certified orientation and mobility specialist.