Visual and Audio Timers In Your Autism Arsenal

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.

Back by popular demand is another entry on Autism in the form of a few suggestions.  Skills that we have learned ourselves and implemented in our home.  Tips that really work well.  We'll start off with just one.  They are unbelievably easy to implement.

Lately, I've been getting referrals from friends who have friends that recently received Autism diagnosis for their children.  Our boys are 9 and 10 and are at very differing  places on the spectrum.  Of course, each person is different and these are just suggestions because they work for us and may work for you, too.



One of the many issues you may have is power struggles and constant bickering.  A way we have learned to combat this dialog is through the use of a timer.  It has been one of our biggest stress relievers. Both of our boys did not like being told when to stop doing something whether it was video games or a bath.  We realised that by NOT saying anything, the problem was solved.  It was that easy.

Currently, we are using the audio timer on our stove.  We set it for, let's say an hour to play on the Wii.  When they hear the beeping, they automatically stop.  We don't have to say a word and it is very, very rare that they keep playing.  I'm also  more inclined to use the stove's timer than something physical that they can hold, because my youngest may just throw it across the room if he feels the time was not enough.



They can also check the timer to see how much time is left.  Both boys seem to respond very well to knowing exactly, even to the minute, how much time they still have.  Even if it is for a chore or studying.  That concrete, numeric meter seems to be just what they need.

Also, letting them know when time is nearly up can make the transition even easier still.  For example, in the evenings, we let the boys play on their tablets in bed for 30 minutes or so, before reading time.  (You could also increase or decrease this time as a means of reward or punishment.  I know that punishment should fit the crime, but this is one of the only things that work for us when it comes to consequences.)  We give a verbal warning that they have 5 more minutes, they hear the beep and there is no discussion.  




That's it!  Easy, right?  I plan on getting a portable kitchen timer for times when they can't hear the beeping from the kitchen.  If you have an hour glass or other type of time meter, you can try that, too.

Also, stick to your guns.  Beep and that's it.  If you don't stick with it and make it as black and white as possible, it may not work as effectively if at all.  I don't know about your kids, but my kids need black and white and if we are honest with ourselves we'll find the sense in that.

Here is a link explaining the benefits of visual timers.

At home, I don't want to stress my kids with the visual timers.  I know that my youngest uses it at school and is not a fan.  We've learned the importance of patience and time or how long it takes to do something, is often too tiny of a fish to fry.  We'll be talking about that next time.  Choose your battles.  This may be the greatest tip to learn.  Not only when dealing with Autism, but for life, in general.

Thanks so much for checking out The Cherry.  You can visit our Pinterest board, Autism to find all of our entries as well as other resources that may help you.