Calendar Systems

Calendar systems provide a structured way in which to refer to events in a child’s day. Sometimes called “Anticipation Boxes” or “Object Calendars,” a series of meaningful symbols are arranged in sequential order to let the child know what will happen next. Calendars also provide a way to make clear the beginning, middle, and end of an activity, as well as time concepts, such as before, after, later, and now. There are several reasons a calendar system is often recommended for a child with deaf-blindness. The calendar system provides emotional support to the child in the following ways:

  • It provides the child the security of knowing what is going to happen next. Because of the sensory loss the child experiences, he/she may miss natural cues related to future events.
  • It gives the child things to anticipate. Looking forward to a fun event can lift the child’s spirits and help him stay connected with the world outside himself.
  • It alerts the child that an unexpected change in routine is going to occur. Having the opportunity to prepare for a change often makes the change less stressful.
  • It allows the child to participate in decisions about the days events. This gives the child a sense of control in his/her life. (from Let Me Check My Calendar, by Robbie Blaha and Kate Moss)

Calendar systems can be simple anticipation calendars- presenting an object or symbol representing what is coming next and putting it in a “finished box” at the end of the activity. They can be expanded to have objects, symbols or pictures arranged in the order of the events of the day, or even expanded into weekly or monthly calendars. They can use objects, parts of objects, textures, pictures, words in print or in Braille.

Learn more about calendar systems

Anticipation Systems/ Calendars (Maria Bove)
In this 21 minute video presentation on anticipation calendars Dr. Bove discusses the purpose and use of anticipation calendar systems, which provide students who are deafblind with information about what is going to happen to them throughout the day.

Tips for Home or School Object Calendar (Nevada Dual Sensory Impairment Project) The article gives directions for making a simple object calendar system.

Calendar Conversations (Texas School for the Blind)
A wonderful video of a young student and his teacher checking his daily object calendar.

Jarvis’ Calendar (Texas School for the Blind)
In this video a teacher reviews the weekly calendar with his student using tactile symbols and tactile sign.

Using a Schedule with Your Child (Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments) This article (also in Spanish) gives advice on using a calendar system at home.