Timing Is Everything

Timing Is Everything
I have been reading through the Fall/Winter 2005 issue of Autism Spectrum Quarterly, enjoying the articles and checking out websites of some of the advertisers.

I would like to share about one such website and the neat gadget we received the other day that has delighted Nicholas. The statement, " Do you use VISUAL STRATEGIES to support communication?" caught my attention. I went to www.usevisualstrategies.com to sign up for Linda Hodgdon's free monthly newsletter and headed over to the products section to see what last minute treat I could purchase for one of my children on the Autism Spectrum.

Mr. Squiggly Timer has a suction cup on his butt and a magnet on his back. This means you can stick him on the table to help with reading assigments or just attach him to the refrigerator and do fluency timings for homework. He is the ideal reading companion with a digital timer.

He is very colorful, his legs are bendable and twistable (like gumby) in a pink shade, with his face a round yellow that contains two blue buttons as the eyes and a blue button as the nose.

Whenever you want to reset the timer to 00 you will press both eye buttons to do so. The left eye button counts the minutes with the right button for the seconds. The nose starts the countdown for the timer. Mr. Squiggly signals when the time has ended. Someone will need to press both eyes to stop the timer from beeping. He comes installed with a 1.5V "AAA" battery. Made in China with a five year warranty for only $12.00.

The hat on the head that has the timer screen is blue, similar to a chef's hat. The right hand has a small piece that is like a mini paperclip and holds a yellow card stating - " Tonight's assignment: Read for 20 minutes". I am not sure what Nicholas did but this broke off the minute he got on the couch with Mr. Squiggly.

Nicholas proceeded to get his favorite cat book out and program Mr. Squiggly for five minutes and 11 seconds (5:11) and did not want to be interrupted. It is mentioned on the instruction sheet that Mr. Squiggly is perfectly suited for timing a child's reading, playing an instrument or doing chores. You can set the time to go up or down. Nicholas prefers to countdown the time.

In our case it will be fun to time how long it takes Nicholas to build a lego toy, put together a puzzle and draw a picture. I felt this was a good way to promote more chapter book reading, beyond the current Goosebumps interest and also to work independently on his fluency.

UseVisualStrategies.com lists that there are less than 300 left and the distributor discontinued them, so I think I need to pick up another one. This is a great way to get your child interested in reading and learning the true value of time and how long five minutes really lasts.

It just so happens that Linda Hodgdon is the guest reviewer on the following page from her advertisment in the Autism Spectrum Quarterly Fall/Winter 2005 issue. The review is on the book entitled, Super Silly Sayings that are Over Your Head: A Children's Illustrated Book of Idioms. A thoroughly enjoyable review! Both the magazine and book can be ordered through Starfish Specialty Press.

After Nicholas and I read through Who Let the Cat Out of the Bag? we started a notebook listing of idiom sayings to someday create our own book. This is a fun way to spend an afternoon coming up with sayings and laughing about with your child on the Autism Spectrum.

Linda is the author of the best seller, Visual Strategies for Improving Communication, a book I have placed on my wish list and hope to obtain shortly, as well as a Behavior book.

Discussions with a ten year old on the Autism Spectrum

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