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  • Writer's pictureNorman Ebel

The quiet timer, the right timer.

Advice on choosing the right timer.


Time plays a central role in almost all daily situations. The visual representation helps, for example to orient oneself in time, to motivate in learning situations or to remain more relaxed in waiting situations.

Time as a guide

In order to understand temporal processes, to follow them and to be able to orientate ourselves on them, we first have to get a feeling for them.

It’s not necessary to develop a precise feeling for the length of a second. It is much more important to understand that 5 minutes is shorter than 50 minutes.

It is also advantageous to see when the 5 minutes are up, for example.


Learn a sense of time

Visual timers help people with autism to convey a sense of time. Beside this, they can have a motivating and calming effect.

When choosing the right timer you should consider the following aspects:

  • Is the visual representation clear? Digital displays with numbers only provide less information than dials that change accordingly.

  • How noisy is the timer? Despite a good visual display, a noisy movement can be distracting. Hourglasses are almost silent and fun to use.


Timer apps as an alternative for on the go

Mobile phone apps sometimes offer a good alternative for on the go, when traveling or being in waiting situations (at the doctor's, etc.). Just ensure that the displayed design is clear and concise.

Our tip: When choosing the timer, pay attention to visually clear representations. These can be colored discs that slowly move back or hourglasses that also offer a silent optical overview.


Avoid using noisy ticking clocks or devices without a good visual display, such as commercially available egg timers / wind-up clocks. The ticking can also be a distraction and rather annoying in the long run.

If you need further help or coaching on using and customizing timers and other visualization aids, please leave us a message. You can find an overview to print out or download in our Materials section and at the end of this article.


Best regards


Autismushelfer everyday tips - using the right timer
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