Good News and Bad News for the ASD Community

Published April 22, 2014

What do you do when someone says, “okay, I’ve got some good news and some bad news --- which do you want first?” Me, I always opt for the bad news first. It’s not that I’m a negative sort of person, I just want to get it out of the way so that I can get on to the good stuff.

With that in mind, let’s first talk about the results of a recent study concerning the increase in children with ASD. There’s certainly nothing good about reading that the Center for Disease Control is reporting a 30% increase in the last two years. The rate has gone from 1 in 88 two years ago to 1 in 68 today.

Of course, as in any study like this, there are lots of qualifiers. Awareness is continuing to increase, which translates to more parents recognizing the signs and seeking professional assistance. Our definitions have shifted, also, so that nearly two-thirds of those diagnosed have average to above-average intelligence. Obviously, many were left out of previous studies. The bottom line, though, no matter how you look at it, is that this is a major factor in the lives of millions of Americans.

Researchers from the CDC also stressed that the one thing that isn’t changing is that children with ASD are still being identified much later than they should be. Autism can be diagnosed by age two but the average is still over age four. This is significant. While there is currently no cure, there are many things that can be done to unlock the potential for those who experience the world differently, and early recognition can have a life-long impact.

This brings us to the better news. One of the reasons for late detection has always been the cost of medical evaluations and therapy. There appears to be some light shining at the end of this particular tunnel. All political bickering aside, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services has posted on their website, “Because of the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans must now cover autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months – with no out-of-pocket costs. In addition, the Affordable Care Act includes many important benefits and protections that address the health care needs of those with autism. Insurers are no longer allowed to exclude anyone with autism or charge more based on this pre-existing condition. Also, children are now able to remain on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26.”

Early screening and diagnosis can literally change lives. Every day we’re realizing more and more that it isn’t that these individuals can’t learn --- it’s that we haven’t been using the right tools. Here at Time Timer, we’re very proud to be a part of this movement. Our timers are used by ASD kids and adults all over the world who benefit from being able to “see” the passage of time. Who knows how far many of them will go? In her book, Awesome Autism Quotes: Inspiration, Humor & Reflections, Margaret “Pegi” Price, quoted William Shakespeare, who just may have summed it up perfectly…..

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

Tags: asd, time management, time timer, classroom timer, autism awareness

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Did You Remember Time Timer at Tax Time?

Published April 16, 2014

April is an interesting month. For most folks it’s the first month for warmer temperatures and brings with it the hope that winter is finally over. Gardeners put aside their plant catalogs and horticulture magazines and head for the aisles of local nurseries. Baseball fans excitedly fill stadiums for season openers, and kids start looking forward to the Easter Bunny bringing that big basket of candy!

There is one day in April, however, that hardly anyone anticipates with joy and, in fact, celebrates when it’s over. April 15th – Tax Day. Those eager for a refund fired up Turbo Tax or visited their accountant long enough ago to have spent that money a dozen times over. Anyone who waits for April 15th does so because they suspect that they will owe money to the IRS. 

So, okay, none of this is news to anyone. It happens every year. What does it have to do with your Time Timer? And, now that we’re happily past the deadline, why should we care?

We all have to pay taxes, but, hopefully, none of our readers paid more than their fair share. One of the ways we arrive at the number that represents our portion is by balancing our income with those deductions for which we’re entitled. Work-related items are legitimate expenses. If you are a teacher or use your timer at the office, it may very well qualify. This may be true even if you work at home. 

Taking your trusty Time Timer on vacation so that your kids no longer bombard you with “Are we there yet?” every five minutes is an excellent idea, but it won’t help you with your taxes. Neither will using it to help your child know how much time is left before bedtime or when their turn on the computer is over. Having a timer in your classroom, on the other hand, so that your students know how much time remains for a project or test is a different story.

Here at Time Timer, we have to rely on our own accountant to determine what expenses we can deduct, so we really can’t judge your particular situation. But it would definitely be a good idea for you to discuss it with your tax professional. 

If you’re one of the more than 12 million Americans to get this far into April without giving any thought to preparing for the 15th, IRS Form 4868 became your new best friend! Filing an extension isn’t nearly as good as having it over and done with, but it comes with its own sigh of relief. 

For those of you with a little more time, this gives you a chance to check to see if your Time Timer qualifies as a deduction. And, even if it doesn’t, you can certainly use it to help focus a block of time on gathering W2’s and receipts. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish and how much better you’ll feel once you do! 

 

Tags: classroom timer, time management, productivity tool, april 15, tax day, extension, time timer

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Is There a Dark Side to Spring?

Published April 08, 2014
Warm sunny days. Colorful new blossoms on flowers and trees replacing the grays of winter. Windows open. Streets and sidewalks once again filled with joggers and bikers. Neighbors stopping to chat as they walk their dogs instead of getting back inside as quickly as possible. 
Aren’t these the images that come to mind when you think of spring? I’m betting they are, and, on most days, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone not totally delighted with this wonderful season. Well, maybe we shouldn’t include those unfortunate folks with allergies related to pollen but I suspect even they want to love spring. 
 
But there is another aspect to the end of winter and the beginning of those months that serve as the transition to the hot days of summer. As we raise our shades and open the windows, we start thinking about the need for lighter clothing. Time to put away sweaters and boots and pull out shorts and flip flops. And, that’s when it hits us --- it’s also time for spring cleaning!
 
In our part of the world, it’s believed that the timing of this annual ritual was due to the blustery winds of March, as well as it being too early for most bugs. Not having the benefit of vacuum cleaners, they simply opened the doors and windows and let the wind do the rest. The tradition of spring cleaning survives today in spite of Hoovers, Dysons and Sharks, but, for most of us, it is not something we look forward to!
 
One of the reasons we dread these sorts of projects is that we’re already overwhelmed by all of the activities we pack into our day. Pulling things out of closets and moving furniture instead of just hitting the high spots takes time that we simply do not have. But, at the same time, who doesn’t love the feeling of having everything all spruced up and truly clean?
 
So, what’s the answer? There’s an old saying about taking on daunting tasks…
 
 “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” 
 
When you don’t have time to do something, you break it into smaller segments. Instead of devoting an entire weekend, pick an hour on Saturday morning and then maybe another Sunday afternoon. Or 30 minutes several nights during the week. Knowing that you are only committing to a set amount of time can make all the difference, and, before you know it, what seemed impossible becomes easily manageable. 
 
This is where your Time Timer can give you such a huge advantage! Place it where you can see how much time you have so that you really focus on your task. This lets you pace yourself to make sure you finish and not leave everything torn apart. And, it also helps to prevent you from going off on tangents. You know what I mean. You glance in a box as you’re moving it to dust underneath and decide to look inside. 45 minutes later you’re still leafing through old photos! That won’t happen if one glance at the disappearing disk on the timer reminds you to get back to work! 
 
 
Why not let Time Timer make spring cleaning just another project that is easily managed? Our new Time Timer Plus, with its on-the-go carry handle is perfect for moving around with you and is easy to see from across the room.  Next to a live-in maid, you just won’t find better help!
 
 

Tags: time timer, spring cleaning, time management, disappearing red disk

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