Storytelling (Confabulation)
Toggle Parents and Caregivers Menu

Storytelling (Confabulation)

Children with FASD may lie over and over again, for many reasons:

  • They may be trying to please you with what they think you want to hear,
  • To get attention with a ‘good story’,
  • They have trouble remembering the truth so ‘fill in the blanks’ in their memory,
  • They have trouble thinking in a logical way
  • They might really believe the lies they are telling you.

FASD Behaviours

  • Children with FASD have significant short-term memory problems. This creates difficulty knowing the difference between reality and fantasy/fiction.
  • They may not recall what they are asked to tell or have the language to explain what occurred. Some children may not remember whether a story was made up, a dream, or really happened.
  • Children with FASD may lie a lot, which can lead to those around them to have trouble trusting them or believing their stories.


  • Avoid redundant questions: Questions such as “Are you sure this happened?” may make your child more likely to answer with what he thinks you want to hear.
  • Supervise: Know what they have been doing and need to do next. This way you will know what really happened and be able to remind your child of the facts.
  • Practice storytelling: Have your child make up stories and read both fiction and non-fiction stories. Help her recognize appropriate times to tell stories, and differentiate between storytelling from lying.
  • Ask “Truth or Story?”: To cue your child to stop and think before continuing to tell you what occurred.

For a printable tip sheet of this information, click here.


Developmental Resource Centre Waterloo RegionSunbeam Centre