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Activity and strategy

Counting Down the Days

This activity is designed to help children who are deafblind, blind or visually impaired to count down the days until an event occurs using a tactile chart with braille.

Whenever I am away from home, I want to try to create a way for my 5-year-old son who is deafblind to understand when I will return. This is the latest idea I am trying while I am away at a conference this week.  I wrote out instructions for my husband to follow during the bedtime routine, in the hope that this structured approach will help my son to understand.


  • board for background (This can be cardboard, wood, hard plastic or any firm surface.)
  • small “envelopes” or “pockets”  (These can be made of cloth, paper or other materials strong enough to be a pocket.)
  • popsicle sticks (one for each pocket)
  • glue stick
  • print/braille labels


  • Create one pocket for each day you will be gone and place one stick in each pocket.  (I also “traced” the pockets with puffy paint to make the pockets even more distinct.) 
  • Pockets and sticks could be labeled with braille or large print numbers if desired.

The final pocket announces in braille “Mom Home Day” (or whatever event you are counting down to).


  • Allow your child to explore the chart and discuss together.  Make sure to point out the “Mom Home Day”.  
  • Show the “pocket” that represents “today”.  Take out the stick for “today” and count the remaining days together. 
  • Say, “_____ days until Mom is home”  
  • Create a consistent routine at the same time everyday to discuss the chart.  

Here’s what the chart looks like at the end of the countdown on “Mom Home Day”: 

Completed chart
All sticks are in the pocket labeled “Mom home” on the right side.
Collage of counting down the days


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