What Are Alarms?
Alarms are audio and/or visual reminders of an event or time. Most people rely on alarms daily to wake up or remind them of important events. Alarms are a great strategy to foster independence.
- Alarms in Positivity offer flexibility and personalization for your students’ needs.
- Tones - Choose from a list of different alert tones.
- Text to Speech - Define custom messages for alarms, such as specifying who the alarm is for (assign to a student’s schedule or the master class schedule) or add instructions.
- Visuals - A visual will display and require action to ensure users acknowledge the alarm.
- Devices - Caregivers can choose whether the visual and auditory alarms are present on the student’s device, the caregiver's device, or both.
Why Are They Important?
Alarms are an easy way to teach your students to be more independent. Many researchers study the effects of alarms and notifications on on-time behavior in individuals with intellectual disabilities or traumatic brain injury. Gillette and DePompet (2008) found that students using electronic alarms were on time more often than those using a list or paper planner and were on time 50% more with digital alarms. Other studies support improvement of on-time behavior but also report research participants felt more independent (Gentry et al. 2010). The use of digital alarms and other visual calendar supports have the additional benefit of universal use. As Targett et al. (2013) stated “...they [Personal Digital Assistants] are ubiquitous- just about everyone has one… they are far less likely to stigmatize the student”. Using alarms is an important lifelong skill.
Setting up Alarms in Positivity
Alarms in Positivity should be set for actions that need to take place at a particular time despite the current event or activity. For example, if a student has a sensory diet and jumping on a mini trampoline every hour for 5 minutes is prescribed, alarms can be set at the top of each hour.
To Create an Alarm in Positivity:
- Sign in to n2y.com.
- Select the turquoise heart icon to launch Positivity.
- Select the menu in the upper left-hand corner.
- Select Visual Schedules.
- Choose the desired schedule.
- Select the Today, Daily, or Weekly tab as desired.
- Alarms set in daily or weekly view will repeat at the assigned time. Alarms set in “Today” view are delivered at the time assigned only for today.
- Select +Add alarm.
- Name the alarm.
- Choose the alarm time.
- Choose to have the alarm close after a Manual Close or Time Advance.
- Pro-Tip: Use the time advance setting to automatically turn off alarms with sounds after a set period of time.
- Select the pencil icon to add an image or symbol if desired.
- Use the "When alarm goes off" section to customize auditory cues.
- Speak Message reads the name of the alarm aloud.
- Play sound plays the audio selected from the drop-down menu.
- Pro-tip: Select the play icon to preview the sound.
- Select Save.
There are a variety of tones you can choose from in Positivity. Tones are a nice way to prompt a student or the class discreetly during a lesson. Alarms using a message work nicely for students who cannot auditorily discriminate between tones or for a student who needs message cues. You may also choose to use both message and sound combined.
Implementing Alarms in Positivity
Teaching to use Alarms:
Let the student know your expectations when following the Positivity alarms. Practice as a class for the first few alarms, providing prompts as needed for students to be successful.
When a student responds appropriately to the alarms you have set, praise him/her for use of alarms and provide a tangible or activity reinforcer if needed.
Gentry, Tony & Wallace, Joseph & Kvarfordt, Connie & Lynch, Kathleen. (2010). Personal digital assistants as cognitive aids for high school students with autism: Results of a community-based trial. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. 32. 101-107. 10.3233/JVR-2010-0499.
Gillette, Yvonne & Depompei, Roberta. (2008). Do PDAS enhance the organization and memory skills of students with cognitive disabilities?. Psychology in the Schools. 45. 665 - 677. 10.1002/pits.20316.
Targett, P., Wehman, P., West, M., Dillard, C, and Cifu, G. (2013) Promoting Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Physical Disabilities and Health Impairments. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. 39 229-239. 10.3233/JVR-130653.