Time management and waiting are skills that not all learners have without being taught. In order to engage in large groups, small groups, and 1:1 learning opportunities, our learners will benefit from being taught how to wait and manage their time. When presenting stimuli in a 1:1 lesson, we want our learners to wait with quiet hands before reaching and grabbing. When waiting for their peers to clean up and come to the large group table, our learners will need help in doing so. During small group activities, our learners may need to wait for their peers to answer a question or participate before they have a turn.
There are many ways to implement the following resources and I will share some below:
- Time to wait visual with sand timers with 3 options and 3: 1:1 or small group settings.
- Waiting visual with clock puzzle pieces (large and small options): During a large group waiting, when the clock is put together, waiting is all done. This resource can also be used as a token economy where when the clock is full, they receive reinforcement.
- Countdown (large and small) with 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 numerals and icons for what they are waiting for: I have used this when waiting in the bus line to go home!
- Waiting visual with red, yellow, and green (large and small) with an arrow pointing to which stage of waiting the learner is at: I use this visual in a 1:1 setting or a 1:1 setting at a large group table
- Use the timer for work or reading task with visuals
- One for 40 minutes, one for 12
- Creating a schedule with time, task, and a check for all done
- Planning their time- this includes first, next, and last language
- Planning my time option with a to do task list at the top, time and activity list for checking off as it gets done
- Steps for waiting visuals (3 options)
- Time to wait mini social scripts (2)
- Options for waiting
Learning How to Wait
Wait times throughout a learner’s day may be one of the increases we see in maladaptive behaviors. During a typical day, our learners have to wait for their breakfast, wait in the car while driving to school, wait for their peers to get into the classroom, wait at a sink to wash their hands, wait for a toy that one of their peers is engaging with, wait in a line before going out to the playground, wait for their peers to clean up and get to a group table, wait for a snack item that they manded for, wait for a teacher to call on them, and many more!
There are research studies available that discuss the amount of times a child is asked to wait. One study called “the marshmallow experiment” discusses the situations that the participants were in and how delayed gratification played a role in the brain. The participants that were promised something (such as more crayons) received them after waiting. They learned that delayed gratification was worth the wait and they learned the ability to wait.
Just as any other learning or functional skill, time management and other executive functions need to be taught discretely to some of our learners. Someone who ay have difficulty with receptive or expressive directions will benefit from the visuals that are available to them. The visuals for these skills are also great reminders for all!
The Autism Helper has many resources available to help implement waiting and time management. Those can be found here!
There are also so many training videos and resources within the executive function’s masterclass! Join the waitlist here!