Blog — special needs


Interview with ADHD Expert Doug Diller

ADHD expert Doug Diller writes a wonderful ADHD blog about his life living with ADHD, raising three daughters and helping clients with ADHD create success plans. He uses the Time Timer daily and offered his suggestions for Time Timer fans.

Doug Diller Time Timer

1. Where did you first hear about the Time Timer?

My wife is a special ed teacher in Portland and she is the one who told me about it.

2. How did you introduce your daughter to the Time Timer?

She was 8 years old and getting very distracted when cleaning her room. After the Time Timer arrived I talked with her about how our brains sometimes lose track of time. I explained that it is common to get distracted especially when doing something you really don't enjoy. I told her that we were going to use the Timer to set short blocks of time where she could clean and then do something else. We started with 15 min and it really worked well.

3. Why do you think people with ADHD can often struggle so much with time?

ADHD people typically live in the "now" or "not now" world. Making that transition between the two is difficult. We are often fully engaged in the activity at hand and is therefore difficult to think about the next step.

4. What advice do you have for other ADHD Coaches who may begin using a Time Timer?

I would tell them to start with short 10-15 min chunks of time. Get people used to using the Time Timer. Additionally I would recommend that it be used when working on one specific task.

For example; it is more effective to set the Time Timer for 15 min and have student work on their math homework. Then reset it for 15 min and have them work on science. Rather then set it for 1 30 min and have them work on homework in general.

5. Do you pair the Time Timer with any other visual supports?

Not directly but in a way similar to the example I gave in question 4. I might set the Time Timer for 15 min and then tell my daughter to pick-up all the clothes on the floor. Then reset it and say now pick-up anything that is red.

Thanks Doug! Visit Doug's blog for ADHD tips.

Why Multi-Tasking Wastes Your Time (by AgileKids)

Why Multi-Tasking Wastes Your Time by Shirly Ronen-Harel of AgileKids

There are two types of people: those who can't do more than one task at a time, and those who think they can! Multi-tasking costs us. This is a fact. 

Why is multi-tasking a waste of time?

1. Our Senses Can't Handle It:

Have you ever answered your mobile while watching TV and eating popcorn? And how many times have you said: 'Yes... Uh huh... Yes..." without actually paying attention?

Both the television and the mobile demand our attention, and both demand that we use our sense of hearing. We just can't do it!

2. Stress:

Multi-tasking is also a stress response when we have to do many things – all important or urgent – at the same time.

Occupational Therapist Robyn Colley and the Time Timer

Editor's Note: This week, to celebrate Occupational Therapy Month, Time Timer brings you a guest blog by pediatric OT Robyn Colley. Note how she uses the Time Timer to clarify expectations and help children of all age and ability levels achieve independence. 

As a pediatric Occupational Therapist, I often work with children who have transition difficulties or have a disorganized nervous system (generally both). The Time Timer has been an important tool in my practice for over a decade. 

Children need to be able to transition without feeling over-stimulated, frustrated, or mad. 

But they also need help knowing how and when to transition. Just telling a child that she has "five more minutes" and expecting her to comply is a lot to ask.

Many people set a kitchen timer that counts down. This can be over-stimulating due to the ticking or bell sound at the end - and over-stimulation does not help transitions! A kitchen timer also does not teach the concept of time.

I truly believe children learn the concept of time by using the Time Timer. They can see the difference between 5 minutes or 45 minutes. Then, when they connect what they see to what they feel, time is not so daunting. 

5 Time Questions to Ask Your Child's Teacher

It's that time of year – the Internet is ablaze with back-to-school tips!  Here's a set for Time Timer fans.

5 time-related questions to ask your child's teacher:

1. How much time should my child spend doing homework at night? On the weekends?

2. Does my child respond well to time limits, or is that a stressor?

3. Does my child handle time well academically? Is she rushed during tests? Does he complete tasks on time?

4. Does my child handle time well socially? Does he share? Does she struggle with transitions?

5. What can we be doing at home to help our child manage time?

Bonus Question: What is the classroom bullying policy? If my child is targeted or sees another child being bullied, what should we do?

More excellent questions to ask your child's teacher >>

Does your child's teacher have a Time Timer? Email him or her the Time Timer animated video. Teachers can buy in bulk at the Time Timer Store.

Austism and the Time Timer: Tips by Jennifer Twachtman-Bassett

Autism Spectrum Quarterly is one of the best resources for families who love someone with Autism. By

Jennifer Twachtman-Bassett

 interviewing real people and sharing stories from all walks of life, editor Diane Twatchman-Cullen rallies the Autism community to nurture children on the Spectrum into confident adults. 

This quarter, AS Quarterly's TIPS section featured "Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Time Timer" by Jennifer Twatchtman-Bassett, M.S., CCC-SLP!

Jennifer writes: 

"While I have found Time Timers in many of the facilities where I practice, I also find missed opportunities for using them. So, this issue's TIPS column not only presents strategies for teaching kids how to use the Time Timer, but also some specific examples of situations where they are very helpful."

You can subscribe to to see Jennifer's full list. Here are our favorites!

1. Accentuate the positives! Always begin with small amounts of time on the Time Timer that lead to preferred events or activities (e.g. 5 more minutes and we'll be finished in the store; 5 minutes to break time).

2. Set the child up - for success! When you do begin to use the Time Timer for non-preferred activities, start with only small amounts of time. For example, if your child doesn't like to clean her room, set the Time Timer for 5 minutes and gradually lengthen to 15 or 20 minutes over time. 

3. Use the Time Timer as a substitute for indefinite words like in a little while

4. Use the Time Timer to reduce conflicts at home or in school by showing how much time each child has before he needs to relinquish the TV, computer, iPad, etc. 

5. Use it for so many other situations in which knowledge of the time involved can ease anxiety and help with transitions!

Thanks for a wonderful article, Jennifer! Visit and Facebook.