It’s a fancy name for clock. Ha, just kidding. They aren’t all necessarily clocks. Usually a fancy version of a clock if it only had the second hand. Many kids need visual timers. They serve as a sensory or visual reminder of time. What goes around, comes around, right? Analog Clocks are sexy again.
I actually grew up using a visual timer. See, for a long time I was a competitive swimmer. We just called them pace clocks. But, other than the big block of color, a pace clock is very similar to a visual timer. That’s mostly what I think of when I see students using visual times.
What is a Visual Timer?
A Visual Timer is a simple accommodation for individuals with Autism, ADHD, Executive Function Disorder, or who need visual reinforcement. An app or a physical timer is used to provide both a visual reminder and an auditory alarm to keep the person aware of time. These are often used when completing a task or doing another time-sensitive or time-restricted activity.
Types of Visual Timers
So many options! If you have a child or student who would benefit from using a Visual Timer, you can pretty much find anything to meet their needs and interests.
- Apps, either on phone, device, desktop.
- Many have sound that can be volume-adjusted or muted.
- Available in a variety of colors to accommodate visual needs and preferences.
- Physical Timers (as opposed to an app) can have sand, colored oil, gel, lava-lamp-type material and other features to meet other sensory needs.
- Sand timers (what our grandmas used for eggs!) are small and can be transported anywhere, require no electricity.
- Some are strictly visual, some are strictly auditory. Many are both.
Common Uses for Visual Timers
They’re used for just what they say–a visual reminder of the time. This might be used to indicate the end of play time, before clean up begins. Or, if you asked a child to read or complete a task.
Many dentists even send home egg timers with kids, so that they know exactly how long to brush their teeth. Some toothbrushes have light flashers that serve this same purpose.
The possibilities are endless.
Visual Timers for Autism
In addition to the 3 free Visual Timers above in the Amazon widget, here are a few more.
- Visual Timer on iTunes.
- Mr Bomb and Friends, kids love this one! Just make sure it’s not too distracting.
- Visual Countdown Timer on iTunes.
- Kids Timer on Google Play
- Visual Task Timer on iTunes.
- Children’s Countdown Timer on Google Play
- Visual Timers, on iTunes.
- Timer for Kids, on Google Play
- Happy Kids Timer, Google Play (I like this one because it also has chores!)
Visual Timer in your IEP.
Like most other resource posts, I like to add a blurb about how to get this in your IEP. Visual timers are affordable. And, I’ve shown you several free ones. So, cost shouldn’t be an issue.
Still, it amazes me what some people will dig their heels in about and not want to add to an IEP. I can hear it now. “Well if we let Jacob use his tablet during class for the visual timer, I’ll have to let all the kids use tablets.”
Um, no you won’t. Jacob is a child identified with a disability who needs supports, services and accommodations specific to him.
Anyway, if it’s a problem, do what we always do: Put request in writing, follow up and ask for a PWN. Good luck.
Visual Timers on Learning Resources
I’ve found some of the best physical visual timers on the Learning Resources website. Here are some discount codes.