I’ve heard it a million times and I’ve experienced it myself with my own two girls; visual timers are the most effective thing when it comes to helping a special needs child understand and cope with the passage of time.
For many of our kids, time is a very non-concrete thing.
They can’t touch, taste, or even see it. So, using a visual timer with colors or moving numbers can be a very effective way to help them understand how long “5 minutes” is. I’ve listed and linked to several apps for timers that you can use on your phones and tablets. I’ve also listed a few different timers that you don’t need an electronic device for.
Some of these will help your child start to learn what a specific amount of time is. Some will help your child move from one task to another by providing multiple alarms, and some will help you manage more than one child at a time.
For instance, the Taylor 5849 Quad Kitchen Timer with Whiteboard is designed for cooking more than one thing at a time, like baking a cake, while also cooking potatoes on the burner, and also remembering to take out the cookie dough so it isn’t too cold. But, what I saw in my mind when I first viewed this timer is a way to help your child do more than one task and stay on task without having to verbally remind them.
Say you want your child to pick up all the socks and underwear from his floor and place them into the basket. Then, you want him to take the basket to the washroom. And then, he needs to feed the dog. For a child with ADHD (or other special needs), he might not get past picking up the socks. But, if you use this timer with a white board, you can set a reasonable amount of time for each task to get done with a note next to it.
Maybe it would look like this?
- 10:00 socks/undies/basket
- 5:00 basket to laundry room
- 10:00 feed dog
That’s just one way to use a visual and audio timer to help your child with using time well. Here are more ideas and timers.