When I decided to write an article on Special Needs Clocks, I was thinking in terms of people who had trouble seeing resulting in a need for clocks that spoke to them or had braille numbers on the face that could be touched to tell the time. As I began inquiring about special needs clocks, I found all kinds of information on clocks that could be used to help with children who had learning disabilities, children with autism and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (commonly known as ADHD). I also learned that when you are searching the internet for information on this type of clocks, you have to be very specific in the language you use to do your search. For example, if you search for special needs clocks, you quite frequently will find a display of unusual shaped clocks but not clocks designed to help people with special needs. If you are searching for clocks to help people with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, you should search for “clocks for people with memory loss”.
The term special needs is mostly used to describe students in school who need assistance to learn what other children can easily learn without assistance. The full definition of special needs includes medical disorders such as cancer, asthma and congenital conditions such as cerebral palsy. The definition is further expanded to include developmental conditions such as autism, down syndrome and dyslexia. One source mentioned rehabilitation from strokes and other brain injuries as an example of special needs.
Since there is a very large number of situations where different types of clocks can be helpful, it would be easy to try and make this article cover all different types of special needs clocks. I have personal interest in clocks that aid people with memory loss since my father suffered from dementia toward the end of his life. The balance of this article will provide information on clocks that are designed to help people with memory loss.
The image to the right is an example of the typical clock found in most businesses, schools or public places. It is easy to see how a person with memory loss would have trouble remembering how to read the time on these clocks. Even newer clocks with digital displays do not easily tell a person whether it is 2:30 in the morning or 2:30 in the afternoon as there is usually only a small dot on the face to indicate that the time is PM.
The most unusual clock I found is the SEN clock. This clock features a blank face and then provides the user with a series of magnetic tiles that can be placed on the face to help the person with memory loss remember important times during the day. For example, there is a tile that states “lunch” or “dinner” or “medicine”. The manufacturer also offers an opportunity for you to make your own tiles using their template. This would allow the user to have a picture of their actual dining room on the tile for dinner. The clocks also run silently as clock noise has been known to irritate people with memory loss. An illustration of this clock can be seen here.
Most of the other clocks are made to appear like normal clocks but either contain more or less information than you might find on a normal use clock. For example, there are clocks made to state “Now it’s ———–“. The clocks divide the day into four parts. These clocks are designed for people who are not concerned with the exact time of day but wish to know the day and the day part. There is an example of this clock here.
The most common type of clock I found for people with memory loss are clocks that display the day of the week, time of day, the month, day and year. The time is shown as digital numbers so it is easy for the person with memory loss to read. Some of these clocks will also show the day in day parts. The information at the top of the clock might say Thursday Afternoon and not just Thursday. Some of the clocks also come with alarms to remind the person to take pills and one even comes with a seven day pill box to help keep the medicine organized. One major manufacturer of this type clock is based in Canada. Their clock can be seen here.
There are some articles on the internet that evaluate clocks for people with memory loss. The first one I am going to reference was current as of December 2016. The other article I found dates from September 2014 so the information is probably out of date as far as what clocks are available today. The first article is entitled “Top 10 Memory Loss Clocks”. You can read this article here. The second article is entitled “6 Clocks to Help Ease Dementia”. This article can be found here.
If you know of clocks designed to help people with memory loss that I did not find, please leave a comment below and I will add the information to this site. Include your email address if you would like to be kept up-to-date on this category of clocks. If you know someone dealing with memory loss who would enjoy this article, please share it with them.