Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick...tick...tick

Aspie teen had no idea of time.
He can't 'sense' when time has passed while he's been reading or working on a project.
He can't look at the sky or the shadows and guess whether it's morning or afternoon, those little things around us that we pick up mostly without being told.
A friend of ours suggested an egg timer, a little $2 cheapie thing with one of those ear-piercing bell alarms that lets the whole world know you've over-boiled your eggs again.
It worked for Aspie teen.
No longer did he park himself in the backyard for hours watching ants or prattle his "in a minute" when engrossed in a book/tv show/game.
We put the egg timer on his games when arguments ensued - 30 mins on the games and 1 minute less for each time he'd refuse to do something with the "In a minute" chant.
How often do we say that "In a minute" without any real intention of being literally just one minute?
To someone with no concept of what the value of a minute was this was just a throw-away comment.
Until those precious minutes started flying past on the egg timer - how often did we hear "That can't be right! I just started eating my dinner!" when we got tired of dinner being dragged out for 2 hours or "But that can't be 30 mins already!" when his gaming time was up.
Suddenly, he realised how quickly time was whooshing past without his noticing and when he's reminded of losing some of those precious minutes from his gaming time - whoosh!
It's amazing how quickly he gets a wriggle on these days!
Sure, it's not all sunshine and roses and we've had to incorporate a large-faced analogue watch for him to use (with much nagging reminding to wear it) as he's great with digital but analogue gives a more precise indication of time passing.
Look at a digital clock.
It's just numbers.
Look at an analogue clock face.
It's hands are a picture telling you how much time until the next hour.
You can count the 5 minute increments between the numbers, the value of a minute is right there staring you in the face and the movement of the hands gives you the underlying message that time does not stand still.
Aspie teen still isn't fantastic but he's better with time management, organisation and  study.


Fi said...

Oh wow Ro!
I had never thought of an analogue clock being a picture! Thats awesome- thanks for pointing that out!

Dollfinn! said...

hmmm RO can you come live with us and implement this training with my preteen aspie male child??? Preeeeettty Pleeeeaasssee???????
We had timers and charts that listed how much time was allocated each task for afternoons, mornings and bedtimes, but the chasing said child to find the chart (cause he has lost it again, or maybe eaten it) and then find the timers (only have three, never find them when I want them, but guarantee that they have somehow all made it into mr preteens mess) and then have the patience to explain the way it all works again (not how the timer works, but how the time is equated to a task, such as 5 mins to get out of uniform and put it in the wash basket or 20 mins to bathe) and then chase him when the timer goes off and he is still in uniform, now in bed under the doona, reading a book.

AND people without ASD children wonder why I am constantly exhausted!!!

River said...

I love analogue clocks. I have one in my kitchen and one in my lounge room. I have a digital bedside clock, but only because the ticking of an analogue would keep hubby awake in the days when we still shared a bed.
Your timer is a great way to help your boy learn that a minute is not as long as he thinks.

Deb said...

I loved our timer and was very, very sad when it broke. However someone just put me on to a brilliant iPhone app called time timer. I know most people don't have them yet, but I can see things like this are going to be so useful, especially for people who need cues. Our day goes by all the alarms that the girls have set with different sounds, so they know what it means (duck is for shower etc) rather than Mummy nagging.

And the time timer app has three different visual timers with big coloured sections so it's really clear. There's a red one with or without a clock face, or a yellow one that shows the whole time setting as a circle that is counted away. I'm using that one with the girls at the moment because they can't tell time but can understand 'half your time is up!'

DJ Kirkby said...

You've just described life in our house with Number 3 Son :) Another thing that works well for us (besides the timer) is to count backwards from 5 so that he knows the end point.

Casdok said...

There are some fantastic apps out there. The visual timer is a good one to know :)