Teaching time concepts becomes the key to several aspects when you have a child with special needs. I am not referring to telling time alone, however subtle concepts like waiting, turn-taking tie-up closely with “elapsed time”.
Elapsed time is the amount of time that passes from the start of an event to its finish. In simplest terms, the elapsed time is how much time goes by from one time to another. An important tool that goes hand and hand with elapsed time is the timer.
Consider teaching elapsed time as a concept consistently in various scenarios. Waiting for preferred items, nonpreferred items, offering a choice of minutes to wait. Please be prepared to spend months and years building this concept in young kids that have delays. This one is close to my heart as it directly ties into emotional regulation.
Merely a countdown timer does not help as much as a visual timer. A visual timer allows a kid to constantly check the passage of time, pre-empt when that interval will end. This eases anxiety, builds confidence, and especially kids with speech delays can grasp such concepts better with such aids. This concept, if done well and practiced consistently will help your kid ease up in transitions, immensely help with emotional regulation, and most importantly build the concept of elapsed time in them.
My son benefited a lot from these time teaching strategies in all of the above ways. Teach your child the concept of more or less. Practice responding to significant questions such as below, eventually.
Lunchtime in 5 minutes or 10 minutes?
Leave in 2 minutes or 5 minutes?
Potty break in 3 minutes or 5 minutes?
I have used several timers in the process, trust me you will go through several. Start small and buy one or two. I found the one below helpful, it was not very pricey, found it on one of my midnight shoppings on AMZ.
This one is easy to carry, leave it at the table and sounded off beeps that would stop automatically, not needing a switch. Trust me with special needs all these factors have a role to play. My son has used it roughly, I have carried it to his therapists and used it extensively at home. Post a year, well outside the warranty, I contacted their customer care. My timer had stopped buzzing when we turned it to zero. I wasn’t expecting too much, however was surprised to see an instant response from them with a promise to ship a new one. NO questions asked! They confirmed a few order related details and we have a new one that is going strong for a year now.
Check it on AMZ here
Please note this is not a paid review! It’s just a key item that made such a difference and I felt like sharing! Simple tweaks, make a big impact on your lives. Try it!
You may also be interested in my followup post- Time concepts-“Understanding” passage of day.
5 thoughts on ““Understanding” the passage of time- Time concepts.”
One of the ways my children are learning the concept of time and elapsed time is how I regulate their screen time. They have two hours od careen time each day, so I ask them to help me check how long they spent in a game, tv etc. sometimes it amazes me how well they seem to understand. Thanks for this post. You have given me more clarity.
I like that you have set screen time limits, so needed when they are growing up. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
My toddler is I think a bit too young to get the time concept. But I could teach her the more or less concept. Thanks for sharing this.
I’m going to have to pass this info onto my sister, it would make a great potty timer for my nephew! Thank you!
This is a great tool to learn the concept of time, great post x