What is Tiimo
Tiimo is an app designed to improve independence and provide structure to routines. A visual support that is particularly helpful to those with autism and / or ADHD. We have been using Tiimo for a while now and are finding it really helpful.
Tiimo is designed for use with a smartwatch or smartphone. It is essentially a calendar / schedule that you can customise with your daily activities and routines. The app is used throughout the day to help focus on the current activity. It also supports independence to move on to the next activity.
I am collaborating with Tiimo as a Tiimo Ambassador. Tiimo have gifted me 1 year’s free access to the app and I have agreed to share my experience. In addition I may recieve compensation for my time. However all words and opinions are my own. I am choosing to work with Tiimo as I am a big fan of visual supports.
My two boys have just turned 4 & 6 and are both autistic. They each have communication difficulties and visual aids are really important. Whilst they are not ready to use Tiimo independently, I can see how using it with a smartwatch in future would be a massive benefit. In the meantime we are mainly using it on my smartphone and occasionally a tablet.
Why use Tiimo
One of the biggest impacts of using Tiimo has been a reduction in stress for both me and my kids. I have been able to use the app to show my kids rather than tell them what is happening next. The fact that it is not me saying what needs to be done or when time is up has been a huge help. My eldest is non-verbal and still struggles with verbal instructions. I often have to clearly repeat what I am saying which is frustrating and upsetting for both of us. I only need to show him the visual prompts on Tiimo and he knows what is happening straight away. Tiimo also shows how long is left of an activity and does a countdown as an activity starts.
We have been using Tiimo for bedtime and morning routines. I can just have the app open on my phone or tablet and it prompts us through the routine. It allows my kids independence to know what activity they are doing, how much time is left and then what is next.
Yes it is very similar to visual schedules that we already use but without the faff of printing it out and laminating (and then probably losing it). It is there to hand on my phone at all times.
How I use Tiimo
It was easy to get started with Tiimo by signing up online and then downloading to to the devices I wanted to use it on.
I find it easier to set up the bulk of our schedule and routines on my laptop then edit as and when on my phone. I have set up morning and evening routines, including a separate morning routine for school days. The morning routine is particularly useful to support my kids to try and dress independently (still working on it) and go to the toilet. It is also a good prompt on those slow mornings when you need the kids move a bit quicker to be ready on time.
Using Tiimo for the bedtime routine has also been particularly helpful when we are away from home. Having the same routine but in a different setting with the same visual supports helps provide that structure and calm needed at bedtime.
Icons / symbols and pictures
For me one of the best things Tiimo offers is the ability to add your own icons /images to use with your activities. Both kids are already familiar with PECS symbols so we have added some in. I have also added photos of people or places we go to regularly. I am able to google search something on my phone save the picture and then add that to Tiimo. So for example I can use the TESCO logo so my son knows which shop we are going to. I can add a picture of a place we haven’t been to before such as a new soft play centre. I find most places have great pictures that are easy to find on their Facebook page or website.
Supporting unexpected changes
My kids can really struggle with last minute changes or not knowing where we are going. However life does not always go to plan and for many reasons our days are filled with unexpected changes. This is where Tiimo has been really handy. If we are out and we have a change of plan I can add it to the schedule straight away. Yes I could just show them a picture online but that does not provide the context that it is what we are about to do. Using the structured app makes it very clear when something is happening.
Want to give Tiimo a try?
Tiimo is really user friendly and has been very helpful with both my kids. For my eldest the visual aspect has been most useful, for my youngest it has been having an editable schedule on hand at all times for those tricky transitions.
You can have more than one user on a subscription, I currently have two set up as the kids have different schedules. I have also been adding my own appointments in as it is a very handy calendar. You can cancel anytime.
If you are getting a Smartwatch as a birthday or Christmas present then Tiimo is a fantastic addition.
Do you think this would be helpful for you? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below. Please do let me know how you get on if you sign up.