For individuals who are deafblind, calendar systems provide a concrete means of what is going to happen in the person’s day. Calendars come in many forms. The selection of a specific type of calendar is based on the needs and abilities of each individual. They may be as simple as a single basket containing an object that represents “What I am going to do now.” They may have a series of compartments that contain objects, parts of objects, photographs, line drawings or tactile symbols representing the activities of the day. Some calendars include a symbol for choice-making that allows the person to select a favourite activity. Others may look very much like regular calendars consisting of months, days and dates with information in large print or Braille.
Concrete, tactile, pictorial or physical cues are all part of the Total Communication Approach (TCA). Cues are used in conjunction with speech, sign and gestures and can be used with calendar systems to represent activities or a person.
Concrete Cues are representative objects of an activity or person which the individual who is deafblind is involved with. For example, a cup represents a drink or snack time, a book represents the Library, a ball represents exercise, an instrument represents music, a silk scarf represents their mother, etc.
Tactile Cues are used with individuals with very limited to no vision. These cues are often representative of the texture of a specific place or person. Olfactory (Scent) Cues can also represent a certain activity or person, and is especially great to use with someone with limited to no vision. Examples could include: scent of lavender represents massage, and lavender scented oil is used during the massage, a coffee cup with coffee grounds lining the inside represents coffee or going out for coffee.
Pictorial Cues can be magazine pictures, photographs, picture communication symbols, or drawings. These are used with individuals with some residual vision.