Posts Tagged ‘autism’

On every new smart phone, there is a timer application. When the timer goes off, one typically hears a pleasant, familiar and repetitive tone (“marimba” on the iphone). For any child, the timer provides both a visual reminder (numbers counting down on the screen that they can reference) and an objective auditory cue (repetitive tone going off signals that “time is up”).

My suggestion for parents who struggle with their children during times of transition,  is to try utilizing this simple timer application.

Make sure that you go through the following steps (if possible on a whiteboard or piece of paper):

Example: Going to the park to play on the play structure (Expectation: We can only play for 10 minutes before we have to leave).

1) Clear Expectation – “We can play for 10 minutes (type 10 mins into the timer on your phone with your child watching).”

2) “When 10 minutes is up, we have to leave. You will hear a song (play the song before hand to allow him/her to be familiar with it) that tells you, ‘time to go'”. LET YOUR CHILD PRESS START TO BEGIN COUNTDOWN.

3) Attempt to slow your child’s body (rhythm) down as you notice that the time is moving closer to the 10 minute mark (ex: pushing your child on the swing back and forth, swinging slower and slower). Give a 2 minute warning.

4) When the timer goes off, use alot of facial affect and ask your child – “What’s that mean (big eyes, silly confused look)?” Give you’re child a few seconds to take his last swing, last trip down the slide, etc (but try not to allow for more than one “last try”). Make sure he/she presses STOP.

Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment under this post.

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