The Time Timer
There are so many products and gimmicks on the market geared to aiding children with special needs. Trial and error is often required since it’s difficult to know if a product will be suitable for your child. Unfortunately, it costs money to discover the answer.
I have purchased so many items over the years such as a chair that claims to give your child a “hug”, a giant bean bag chair, therapy putty, chewable jewelry or “chewelery” as it’s popularly known, and more. A few of these items have been helpful, while others were a complete waste of money. Like I said, trial and error. So when I stumbled upon the Time Timer®, I really didn’t know what to expect.
Let me start by saying that this is not a paid endorsement. I am only sharing my thoughts and although it would be nice, I am not receiving any sort of kickback from the company. Okay, i just had to get that out of the way.
This will sound ridiculous, but the Time Timer® has become my new companion. It has helped me organize and manage Max’s time – and it has helped Max focus and stay on task. Visual schedules have worked for us, but the timer seems to be the most effective tool to date.
What is the Time Timer® you ask? It is a timer which uses visual measurement and management of time. The timer is meant to accomplish things such as teaching children with special needs to communicate in addition to helping families develop organizational skills
The concept was a challenge for Max in the beginning. He didn’t seem to grasp that when the “red was all gone”, he could stop printing. But persistence is key with my guy, and I didn’t give up.
I’m currently using the timer for Max to work on his printing skills as well as cutting and pasting skills. He doesn’t enjoy doing either of these activities at home. He will usually put up a fight, run away, whine, cry and refuse. But when I take out the magical Time Timer®, these behaviours (mostly) disappear.
In the beginning, I started off in five minute increments. I would have Max practice printing for five minutes and once we heard it beep and the “red was all gone”, he knew he was done. I would then allow him to play with a preferred item (his beloved iPad), set the timer again (another five minutes), and once timer beeped, he knew it was time to print again. For the next round, I increased his printing time to ten minutes. It worked like a charm.
He’s currently able to work on a non-preferred activity (such as printing) for 15 minutes. I’m slowly working his way to longer stretches of printing time. He will periodically check on the timer to see when he’s done, it’s quite funny to observe.
Look at him go! He’s definitely not enjoying himself, but he’s printing and that’s all that matters.
The only negative feedback I have about this product is that it comes with a hefty price tag. The timer is available in different sizes and we purchased the smallest one for about $40. It’s pricey but since its been such a success, I can’t complain.
This may be or may not be an effective tool for your child, I can’t say that it will work for everyone. But I know that many children with autism do best with visuals so this could be a step in the right direction. Patience and persistence are key.
My review: I give the Time Timer® a BIG two thumbs up!