Developing and Using Calendars
As with all teaching activities, a certain amount of preparation is required when developing a calendar.
- Identify the appropriate system.
- Gather appropriate symbols and materials to represent the activities. Each calendar should be designed to be meaningful to an individual student. There are no universal objects or symbols to represent activities.
- Create an appropriate calendar representation (basket, box, or wall calendar)
- Set up the calendar in the classroom. Put the calendar and symbols in a place that is easily accessible for the student.
- Use the calendar routine daily. Calendars must be used consistently in order to be successful. Don't think of it as just one more thing that you have to do. Instead, think of it as a meaningful activity that is giving the student information that he or she needs and understands.
Make every effort to do all of the activities scheduled in the calendar. Situations arise that require a schedule change. If this occurs, let the student#39;s choice of activity take priority over other things in the calendar. Changes or cancellations in the schedule can be introduced after the student has come to understand the meaning and power of calendars.
Initially, have the same person do the calendar with the student. Another person can be introduced into the calendar dialog later.
Do not stop using the calendar because the student has memorized the schedule. Instead, expand the calendar to include new vocabulary, and more information about time by encouraging conversations about past and future activities.
Videotape the student#39;s calendar at the beginning of its use and again at the end of the year. This will demonstrate how the calendar and the student#39;s use of the calendar have developed. Make a list of the symbols that represent activities and people used in the student#39;s calendar routine. This information needs to go with the student to the next class.
If the team feels that a calendar is important for the student, it needs to be clearly documented in the IEP. This assures that the programming continues from year to year and is not dropped with a change of staff.
Blaha, R. (2001). Calendars for Students with Multiple Impairments Including Deafblindness. Austin, TX: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Hagood, L. (1997). Communication: A Guide for Teaching Students with Visual and Multiple Impairments. Austin, TX: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
Levack, et al. (1997). Basic Skills for Community Living: A Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities.
Significant portions of this module are adapted with permission from Calendars for Students with Multiple Impairments Including Deafblindness by Robbie Blaha.