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Intuitive Assistive Tech: How Time Timer Evolved as a Solution for All Abilities

Posted by Christen Barbercheck on

by Jan Rogers, Founder and Inventor of the Time Timer

Time Timer’s backbone has been a community of people with disabilities for 25 years.

The major concept upon which the Time Timer is based was my perception of the need for the visualization of elapsed time in a more dramatic display than the familiar analog or digital clock faces.  After consulting with professionals in the fields of education, disabilities (including but not limited to all learning & behavioral disabilities like ADD/ADHD, Autism spectrum, Asperger’s, Dyslexia, executive function deficits, etc.), occupational therapists, and physical therapists, it was confirmed that serving people with disabilities should be the primary focus of this product.

Research demonstrates that Time Timer is an extremely effective aid in teaching time awareness for children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, Autism and a wide variety of other learning disabilities.  Since its beginning, Time Timer quickly became a proven solution and the gold standard among professional experts and individuals within the community. 

Intentional, innovative design geared for an inclusive community

Individuals who have any form of cognitive impairment are best assisted with tools that are simple, direct and stress free. The development of the Time Timer addressed these primary needs by focusing on the following functions:

  • Patented, disappearing red-disk shows how much time remains in a clear visual display. Its high contrast color resolution makes it possible for individuals who require assistance to know exactly how much time remains based on the amount of color displayed, thereby eliminating severe stress associated with not knowing how to tell time, or understanding “how much longer” (i.e. lots of color = lots of time; not much color = not much time).
  • Silent-operation without any alarming ring or ticking sounds. The loud ticking and ringing bell that is associated with common, inexpensive kitchen timers can be extremely disruptive and disorienting for individuals with sensory issues.
  • Simple operation that is low-tech and high-value. Because Time Timers are easy to use and “see,” individuals with common learning disabilities are empowered to claim a greater sense of ownership of their time, in a way that enables them to work more independently and with less stress; promoting autonomy and responsible independence.

With typical, non-specialized timers, time is represented by hands on an analog clock face, or a numeric read out on a digital clock face.  Neither example does a good job of providing a sense for what elapsed time looks or “feels” like.  Because of the Time Timer’s intuitive and innovative design, it makes one of the most obscure and abstract concepts, that of time, more tangible and easily identifiable.  This is significant and can be life-changing for individuals diagnosed with disabilities such as ADD/ ADHD and Autism spectrum. Without a Time Timer, it can be extremely difficult for individuals with sensory and cognitive issues to differentiate and internalize five minutes from 50 minutes, and beyond.  This “cloud of unknowing” is often manifested in the form of intense, and even debilitating, levels of stress that can cause extreme disruption in the lives of the individuals and their caregivers, classmates, peers, teachers, family members, etc.  Time Timer, as an Intuitive Assistive Technology, creates a sense of certainty for those individuals who struggle daily with the stress of “when” and “how much longer.”  In a very real and direct way, Time Timers help reduce anxiety, build confidence, strengthen focus and instill calm in these individuals’ daily lives.

As we continue to grow, we have continued to keep the priorities and needs of this core community in mind. You may notice a new icon showing up on some of our packages, website, and throughout our marketing materials:

Time Timer Intuitive Assistive Tech Icon

Those that know us and use us already know that we provide an Intuitive Assistive Tech tool to people of all abilities. But for those that are still looking for solutions to make life easier, this icon is meant to visually communicate the inclusive and intuitive Time Timer mission statement.

Creating a Culture of Inclusion – Lifetime resource

Time Timer is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and we remain committed to our original mission to improve lives through the visual measurement and management of time, specifically as it relates to individuals diagnosed with ADD/ ADHD, Autism, dyslexia, executive function deficits and other learning disabilities. Time Timer continues to stay relevant and be an essential resource for individuals of all age and ability levels. Our product line has adapted to the changing needs of our consumers, as they become older, more mainstream and move through their life journey at home, at school and in the workplace. Time Timer is positioned to be a primary resource for individuals in all phases of their lives.  


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