TOP TIPS FOR USING TIME TIMERS FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM
For anyone who wants to measure and manage time more effectively, the Time Timer is an innovative visual timer designed to “show” the passage of time through the use of a red disk that disappears as time elapses. Unlike traditional timers that fail to make the abstract concept of time concrete, the Time Timer’s visual depiction of “time remaining” provides stress-free management at school and home.
Timers tell the student with autism HOW LONG and WHEN they are going to have to do an activity. Timers allow you to pre-warn the student about activities finishing or starting. They help answer many of the questions these students have: What is happening? What order? What time? What is next? How long?
TIME TIMERS CAN SUPPORT STUDENTS TO:
- Ease stressful transitions by showing “how much longer” and “here is what 5 more minutes really means”
- Show when challenging activities will end: “Lets go shopping for 30 minutes” “Handwriting for 30 minutes”
- Help everyone (especially new staff or visitors) stick to the routine
- Reduce anxiety by creating predictability & consistency
- Help develop a reliable internal clock (especially for students with ADHD)
- Help with organisation & time management so don’t get ‘caught up’ in prefered activities
- See at a glance how much time is left
- Keep lessons/activities focused and on track
- Effectively manage small groups for differentiated instruction
- Provide focus for individual work (help self manage time)
- Tests/Exams (Fantastic for Time Management in Naplan)
- Know how long to speak in presentations (News, Debates, Class Presentations)
- Empower students to manage their own time in ALL activities
- Ensure equal time for taking turns
- Break Times (Help self regulate break times, know when they are going to occur and for how long so they return to work etc)
- Use timer to have set Toilet / Drink and Snack Breaks
- Break larger challenges into smaller tasks or amounts of time
- Rotate learning stations
- Manage Screen Time or “special interests”
- Help students with autism slow down and not rush OR ‘speed up’
- Many students lose track of time when they are doing something they love. Often they do not have an end point or they want to repeat the activity. Timers create a finish point.
MINIMISING STRESS AROUND TIMERS
Although timers can provide a timeframe for the student to work within, helping them keep focused and on track, for some students, timers can be a source of stress. Worries can include; finishing too soon, not finishing within the given time and the sound of the timer going off. In order to minimise this stressor, talking about time as much as possible can be very helpful.