Visual timers are pivotal tools for individuals who have special needs especially for our non-verbal and autistic children. By being able to manage their time, it makes doing everyday activities much more fun and tolerable.
The timer module is just one of the many functions that CommunicoTool 2 offers. It enables the execution of any timed task through a series of pictures. It is also fully customizable to any routine your child may need help with. The timer can even be personalized by default. Here are the top situations where a timer can support your child now and in the long run!
Preparing for transitions
Children with ASD have a great need for structure. So when preparing for transitions between preferred and or unpreferred activities or vice versa, visual timers have been especially helpful to my kids Sara and Maia.
A cooking project that we love to do is making pizza. This routine is a great way for Sara and Maia to transition in and out of preferred and unpreferred activities. In the CommunicoTool 2 application, under the Sequence module, I am able to build the visual routine of steps to make a pizza as described below:
Sara and Maia follow the steps, click on the first image and hear my voice saying, “pizza dough”, so we all roll the dough out together, then click on done. The second image rolls onto the screen with the words tomato sauce so we add the tomato sauce on the dough, then click done. This continues on until we’ve added all elements of the pizza including ham and cheese.
Once the pizza is ready to go into the oven, the timer is launched and set. The timer allows the girls to sit patiently and wait 15 minutes–an unpreferred activity. Then when the timer goes off they’re able to eat the yummy pizza–a preferred activity! The timer allows the girls to understand that patience and no fuss can lead to a reward.
Staying on task
Many children on the autism spectrum oftentimes forget what they have to do and tend to get distracted by their thoughts. This makes it difficult for he or she to complete a task. In this situation, the timer module within CommunicoTool 2 can help to resolve that issue.
As pictured below, you can customize tasks such as brushing your teeth to an appropriate amount of time.
Your child will become more and more accustomed to this task allowing them to continue onto the next part of their morning or night time routine.
With the structure given by visual timers, your child will be able to independently make these transitions as they anticipate them. They are also able to acknowledge and better understand time management with a timer by their side.
As always, include as much enthusiasm and excitement while your child is doing their routines with the timer. Positive reinforcement will benefit in the long run so now all that’s left is for you and your child to ready, set, and go!
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