Calendar Systems-Notes to Self

For use with Deafblind Students

Calendar Systems are used in a variety of instances in the daily lives of Deafblind students. They enhance communication and provide a concrete way to expand the world of the Deafblind student, providing the opportunity to "share the world" and enhance conversations to include the capacity of past, present and future (Blaha, 2004). Because Calendar Systems are considered to be open, they can benefit the student in a variety of ways including allowing the student to anticipate what is coming next, providing the opportunity to develop a sense of security, independence and communication (Rook, 2014). It is interesting to note that the use of miniatures is not recommended for a Calendar, as it does not truly represent the activity in a way that is tactilely identifiable by the student. For example, a miniature playmobile swing does not represent for the student the actual 'feel' of their swing in the way a chain (the same as the actual swing is suspended on) would. I will have to keep this in mind when creating calendars, feel the activity myself and attempt to replicate the texture.
Deafblind students require systematic support to move from concrete to abstract forms. This happens through a hierarchy as noted in the picture below (Blaha, 2004). This is one way the Calendar can evolve, or remain static with the student as they acquire new skills of abstraction.
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Calendar Goals (Rook 3)

  • Expand topis for interaction
  • To make choices
  • To comment/label
  • To reject
  • Improve overall memory, concept development and cognition
  • Understand symbolic forms

I think it is also important to note that a Calendar is ever evolving, and non-permanent. This means as the student acquires new skills and new activities, that the calendar changes with them. This allows for greater flexibility and freedom in the creativity of the creation of the calendar. The forms of the calendar can be on any number of materials, fabrics, systems for attaching (tape, glue, velcro etc), can travel with the student in pocket size format, bins with handles or taped on walls. What is important to remember is that NO CALENDAR is alike, just like our students.

  • Once the calendar system is understood by the student, you can begin to incorporate CHOICE which empowers the student to plan their day and have a sense of contribution, control and worth
Using a Tactile Calendar System
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Other Notes of Importance

Be sure to remember:
  • CONSISTENCY- have all team members whenever possible understand what the objects/symbols on the calendars represent and the PROCESS the student uses
  • Use your staff/community resources to assist in making a calendar when possible (carpenter onsite for wooden dividers etc)
  • Unleash your creativity and problem solve!
  • Maintain a student perspective when creating the calendar
  • Calendars can be used for different functions (Daily, Anticipation etc) so remember the GOAL of your Calendar
  • Calendars must be user friendly or its purpose is lost
  • Give the student TIME to PROCESS the information in a calendar (Rooke, 2014)
  • Collect, collect, collect! Keep a stash of possible cues for future activities/students
Tania Builds Daily Calendar with Tactile Symbols and Sign Practice (complete version)

Works Cited

Blaha, Robbie. Calendars for Students with Multiple Impairments Including Deafblindness. 2001. Reprint. Austin, Texas: Print Depot, 2004. Print.

Rook, Becky. "Calendar Systems for Students Who are Deafblind." Class Presentation. W. Ross MacDonald, Brantford. 8 July 2014. Lecture.

"Tiana Builds Daily Calendar with Tactile Symbols and Sign Practice.." . TSBVI Distance Learning, 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 11 July 2014. <>.

"Using a Tactile Calendar System." ., 8 June 2013. Web. 11 July 2014. <>.