Visual Timer for Autistic Children
The Time Tracker Helps Children on the Autistic Spectrum Cope with Transitions
Many children on the Autistic Spectrum can have difficulty coping with transitions from one activity to another. They find it hard to stop what they are doing without a bit of help and a lot of advance warning. Failing to take this into consideration can lead to the child refusing to stop, or at their worst can lead to angry outbursts, adding to the cumulative stress which can sometimes be present for both child and parent.
One product I have found that works particularly well with my own children is the Time Tracker. This handy device can count down any length of time, changes colours from green to amber to red to let the child know time is running out. It and can even give an audible signal, handy for my sons who might not notice the device's light has changed from green to amber, or amber to red.
It has helped immensely with my sons in our home.
It can also help in yours.
Using the Time Tracker
Where I have gotten the most use from this tool is with computer time. My son LOVES playing on the computer. He would spend hours playing games on it if I let him.
Trouble is, if he is is allowed on the computer for too long he becomes over stimulated and becomes very agitated and angry. So I have to limit him to 30 minutes each day.
Before using the Time Tracker, this meant setting a kitchen timer or watching the clock then letting him know when he needed to end play. Invariably, he'd get to the end of 30 minutes and "Just let me finish my level!" Five minutes more would turn into ten. Ten would turn into 20. Next thing I knew, he'd be off on an aggressive outburst.
By using the Time Tracker, my son gets warning 5 minutes before his time on the computer runs out. We can easily set the device to allow for any transition span we want, from a few seconds to several minutes.
It's not quite like having a "Mother," but this device can keep everyone on time!
~ User review
Time Tracker Device
The Time Tracker is sold by Learning Resources, an award-winning company that produces toys and learning aids for children from age 2 - 12 years. It is a brand trusted by teachers and parents alike.
The Time Tracker has provided a positive means by which my sons can learn to regulate their own activities and behaviour.
Dimensions: 13.5 x 26.9 x 13.2 cm
Weight: 476 g
Batteries: It takes 4 AA batteries, or an AC power adapter can be purchased separately.
Colour Changing System
The traffic lights change from green to amber to red as time run downs. When you start the Time Tracker, it goes green. During the transition phase when the child is preparing to change activities, it turns amber. When time runs out, the light turns red. The tracker can be set to remain green for any length of time as well. These visual cues are ideal for those children who do not react well to sudden noises and also for those who would not be able to hear an audible warning.
The use of transitional cue combining with awareness of what will happen at the end of the time limit, helps to minimise over-reactions to change.
As well as visual cues, the Time Tracker can also give audible cues. It comes with 6 sound effects to indicate time is running out. This is especially handy for those children who either do not look up from their activities, or who would not be able to see a visual warning.
In the Classroom
The Time Tracker has been used successfully in the classroom with both ASD and other students. The Time Trackers can be used for timed exams and for aiding students in changing from one classroom activity to another.
Most methods and devices, such as this one and visual time tables used in classrooms to aid children with special leaning needs, are also successfully utilised by those students who do not have special learning needs.
What Do You Think of the Time Tracker
Would you use this tool?
Reasons to Use the Time Tracker
Use it in the classroom:
- Study sessions
- Practice tests
- Free play sessions
Use it at home
- Time out
- LImiting time on computer, TV, or other device
- Study periods
- Countdown to bed
- Countdown to meals
- Bath time
- Teaching children to take turns