Teaching About Time
- Children with FASD have trouble with abstract concepts they cannot see or touch, such as time.
- A child with FASD is missing an internal clock, which is what organizes our day. Passing time, 10 minutes or 1 hour both feel the same to him. This means he may be late or miss scheduled events.
- A sense of time for these children must be imposed by external means and consistent routines.
- The order of events in a schedule is what sequences and structures time. This helps your child understand what to do next.
- Use a visual timer: This will help your child know when an activity will be over and they can transition easier to the next task. This could be an oven timer, sand-timer or egg timer.
- Be consistent with language: When talking about time, always use the same, clear words. For example, 2:15pm would be referred to as “two fifteen” and not “quarter past two” or “fifteen minutes after two”.
- Write down important times: : Tape a paper under a digital clock with the time your child is to leave for school. Tell your child, “When the numbers match, it’s time to leave for school”.
- Teach time by association: Measure periods of time by TV shows or songs on the radio, e.g., “We will clean up for one more song”.
- Use a colour-coding system for older children and teens when using a calendar or day-timer. This can help them to keep track of things that occur over large blocks of time, such as school, meals, soccer practice, appointments, and homework time.
- Assign a colour specific to each type of activity (e.g., blue for school, yellow for dinner, green for homework) and block off sections of time every day in each colour. Include a reference list for colours beside the calendar.