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Communication - A combined vision and hearing loss can profoundly impact learning in several areas that influence communication.

When we approach the DB student, we do not typically rely on speech. Instead,  we need to employ alternative strategies.


For both expressive and receptive communication, here are some factors that influence communication with DB students:

If you haven’t already taken a look at the Theoretical Bases section of this website, you will find it helpful to do so.

In the work of Jan van Dijk, you will find an explanation of the concept of

One of the most widely used of van Dijk’s ideas is the Calendar System. If you work with a DB student, a symbol that represents you will need to be incorporated into the Calendar System used by the student you serve.  To effectively work with the student, you need to learn what the Calendar is for, and how to use it appropriately. Using the calendar will help the student have smoother transitions from activity to activity and allow the student to build anticipation about your time together.  Smooth transitions and anticipation help you get your work done.


Calendar System - Calendars provide contexts in which students with deafblindness can develop meaningful communication and time concepts. Calendars and calendar discussions also support deafblind individuals emotionally through the security that comes with anticipation of upcoming events, knowledge about changes in routine, and trust in an adult’s commitment to follow through on scheduled activities.

Let Me Check My Calendar, by Robbie Blaha and Kate Moss, introduces the concept of Calendar System in a simple format, including:

Definition of calendar system, rationale for using one, preparations for beginning the use of a calendar system, types of calendars, design and use. Plus, there are loads of references at the end of this article. Check it Out!

Another very important strategy for teaching and reinforcing intentional communication is the use of Joint Action Routines, also known simply as “routines” or “instructional routines.” 

Go to Routines