When uncertainty leads to worry and restlessness and when it is difficult to know what the terms “later” and “soon” are, it can easily end up in conflicts at home and at school. At Carl’s place, conflicts were a part of everyday life as soon as it was unclear to him what would happen next, later during the day, or during the rest of the week. Thanks to assistive tools that clarifiy and structure life, Carl is now more at peace and can focus much better. Conflicts have been replaced with cooperation.
Carl is 10 years and is in third grade. He loves to play soccer and to jump on the trampoline. When he keeps himself busy with his mobile phone, he usually watches science and knowledge programs on YouTube. He is curious, wants to learn more, understand how things are connected, and to see the whole picture. Then he is just fine.
Clarity and structure are important to Carl who has ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. If it is not clear enough for him and he doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, during the day, or during the week, it sometimes shows in worry and restlessness. He also has difficulties with sense of time and time perspective – terms like “soon” and “later” are a challenge for Carl to grasp.
When it is unclear to Carl, it often leads to conflicts within the family, which of course is stressful for everybody within the family. Also, when it is difficult to get grasp of time, what’s next on the agenda, or what will happen tomorrow, it will lead to consequences at school.
Carl was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was four years old, while he was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of nine. There have been different kinds of assistive tools along the way, but two years ago the digital time and structure calendar MEMOplanner entered the family’s life and has since then had a central place at home, where half the calendar is Carl’s, and the other half is for the whole family. This gives Carl a clear view of both his own and the whole family’s planned activities. This also gives clarity whether it is day or night.
The MEMOplanner includes a time pillar which helps keep track of time through its unique time countdown. It shows how much time it is left of an activity or how long time remains until the next activity is to start.
Carl has a MEMO Timer at school, helping to measure time and to understand time – and it has the same kind of time pillar as in the MEMOplanner. Either he keeps it on his desk in the classroom or the teacher keeps it with her, but all the time so that Carl can see the time countdown. The MEMO Timer gives Carl peace, so it is easier for him to concentrate and to focus on the schoolwork.
Maria is Carl’s mother, and she has noticed a great difference after he received the MEMOplanner and the MEMO Timer as assistive tools. “It becomes very clear to Carl as he can go to the MEMOplanner and find out what activities are planned and when. Furthermore, with the MEMOplanner comes structure and no surprises. This in turn means increased feeling of security and less stress, the need for less energy, and there are far less conflicts in our lives nowadays. Carl is more calm and more independent now – and he is a boy that is so much more pleased with himself.”
One of the features Carl likes the most in his assistive aids is the weekly overview in the MEMOplanner, that is loaded with personal pictures. Carl feels more secure when he quickly and easily can get an overview of both his own and his family’s planned activities, visualised with personal photos.
“It is so much easier to cooperate when it is clear what will happen and this clarity has given a whole new sense of calmness within our family,” Maria continues gratefully.