Most of the books I've ever read about ADHD, SPD, and Autism suggest that timers can help kiddos make smoother transitions. We started using one about a year ago, and for us, at least, that seems to be true.We use timers all day here, during school, to monitor screen time, and for things like minutes until bath time.
We were recently sent a 3" Time Timer to review, which retails for $30 from the Time Timer website. The timers are also available in 8" and 12" size for classroom and group use, ($35 and $40 respectively,) and the company additionally sells Time Timer computer software for $24, and has an app available via iTunes for $1.99.
The timer we received requires one AA battery.
The Time Timer essentially works like any other, with the addition of a red film that acts as a visual cue, getting smaller as time passes. This means that even children who can't yet tell time, (like 3 year old V,) can monitor it using relative terms. ("I have a little time left." or "I have lots of time left.")
We've been using this timer daily since receiving it. It's easy to use, and lightweight enough to throw in a purse or backpack for use outside the home. (Minutes at the park, the swimming pool, etc.) Although L can read the numbers on a regular timer, he seems to benefit from being able to see time visibly passing. It feels less arbitrary to him, I think.
I do wish the "ding" was a little louder. We have a pretty noisy crew around here, (kids and dogs,) and at times I found myself straining to hear the timer go off when there was lots of background noise.
Based on my own observations, I'd particularly recommend this product to families with special needs, or young children who can't yet tell time. I'm really glad we got to check it out.
Head over to the Homeschool Crew blog to find out what other homeschooling families thought of this product.