Friday, June 11, 2010

Calendar or Schedule Boxes-These rock!!

Ahh, calendar boxes...They are also known as schedule boxes and they are my absolute favorite strategy for children with multiple impairments or deafblind. I have found such great success by using calendar box systems.
What are calendar boxes?
Calendar box systems are a system for helping provide tactual objects that help students understand time concepts. They help children anticipate what's to come and what's finished. I believe in calendar box systems. They work! I have seen it work over and over. I have seen it work for children who have profound vision and hearing loss as well as having a cognitive delay. I have seen it work for children who are DB and have physical limitations. I look for calendar box systems as soon as I walk into a classroom.
I have two articles that go in depth about calendar box systems. One is from NFB and the other is from TSBVI. I thought I would include the NFB one so I wasn't show favor to TSBVI. The truth is, TSBVI has great resources and the article I have linked is from Robbie Blaha, an awesome educator in our field.

This is the first of many posts about calendar box systems. This is post one. I want you to take a look at the articles and get a feel for it. Next posts will get into some ideas about setting them up and what they look like in a lesson.

In case you don't look at the articles (please do though, worth your read!!). I wanted to share an excerpt about why you should be using calendar box systems. This is from Robbie Blaha's article on calendar box systems, Let Me Check My Calendar:
Why use a calendar system?
"There are a number of reasons a calendar system is often recommended for a child with deafblindness. 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.
Another very important reason a calendar is used is that it helps in the development of communication skills in the following ways:

It allows the child to talk about things that have happened in the past or will happen in the future.
Using the calendar format and symbol provides the child and you with a mutually understood topic for dialogues.
A calendar is also invaluable in developing time concepts because:

It provides a clear way to represent the passage of time which helps teach the child beginning time concepts (past, present, future events).
It aids in teaching more advanced time vocabulary such as "wait", "later", "afternoon", "morning," "day", "night", etc.
It provides an individualized time piece for the child that is easy for him to understand.
It prepares the child to learn more abstract and traditional time pieces (watches, datebooks, etc.)."

Some pictures of one particular calendar box system:

Do it at home: Read the articles on calendar boxes!! Then, take action! First, assess if you child can handle a few calendar boxes or if you need to start with a now and finished box. Most children need to start with 1 or 2 boxes or just the now and finished box. Your TVI is a great resource for this. Ask your TVI to help you get started! I will post Calendar Box Systems Part 2 shortly to help you get started on your next step!

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