The above statement seems quite simple , doesn’t it?

But it’s actually a bit more complex.

The concept of time passing is a hard one to grasp for any child but when you have a child with special needs, the concept of time can be an even tougher one to teach.

Time is not anything you can see, feel, hear or smell.

It is just….there.  It is intangible, a thing that marks the pace of life but not really anything you can hold onto.

Unless you can teach the concept in terms that are understood or in a concrete way.

Elizabeth was, is and pretty much will always be our person who loves her T.V. time.  I think this is due in part to the fact that it requires no motor planning to take part in this activity.  And for those who have Dyspraxia, the work that daily life brings, makes this vegging out state quite appealing.

So I started to teach Elizabeth about time related to her television shows.  For example, I would say something like ” We will be at the store for about as long as an episode of iCarly.” I would then tell her that one show is about 30 minutes, just to give a point of reference.  Or that church usually last two shows.  You get the point.

I think if you can teach and reinforce this concept in as many ways as possible, it will help your  special needs child grasp the concept better.  We used the T.V. reference, then charts and now timers and, of course, much talking about schedules and how long it takes to get from one place to another.

Elizabeth uses a timer to help herself now. She has one to help manage how long she should watch television at night. When to go to bed and so on. The concept of time passing and how long things actually take is one we are consistently working on.

Something to think about using is something called the Time timer puzzle.  It helps reinforce the concept of “how much longer” or in our case “how long will this take”

The wooden Time Timer puzzle is actually like a cube with five layers, each layer has a red area that shows how much time is left and a number on the side that correspond to the number of minutes left.  And as you remove the pieces on the first layer, there is another layer of puzzle underneath and so on. So the one layer with sixty minutes left will be all red.

On the Time Timer Puzzle, each layer is a different marker of 15 minutes of elapsed time.  There are five layers in all.

It helps the child see time pass without having to tell time.

Initially, I dumped out the whole cube, panicked that I would mixed up the entire thing. But  then I  happily found out that each layer has a number on the bottom of each of its pieces.  So layer one all have “1” on the back.  This way your child can use all the “1”‘s to complete the layer.  Then move the “2”‘s and so on. So there really isn’t a way to mess this up.  Plus as you work the puzzle layers, your child is also working some nice fine motor skills.  For those with motor planning struggles like Elizabeth, this is a nice bonus.

I can see how nice the Time Timer Puzzle would be to use as you talk about how long things will last.  Like how long you want them to rest for or how long until dinner.

These concepts are, in my opinion, ones that require much work and repetition, so any tools you can use are great to add to your tool box.

So if you think this might be something that can help your child, take a peek at our site.

I hope the start of school is going well for everyone!!!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti

author of ” I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey”  and “Emily’s Sister