The internal structure of time, which may be missing in individuals with FASD, is what directs us through the day. For children and youth with FASD, a sense of time may have to be imposed by external means. Ensure consistent routines to create a sense of time.
- Children who have an established routine are better able to create a sense of time. The order of events is what sequences and structures time. This helps your child understand what to do next and helps to eliminate the surprise of what comes next.
- Teach time by association. Measure periods of time by, for example, the length of time it takes to drive to grandma’s or how long it takes to watch a favourite show.
- When talking about time, use the same words. For example, say “Ten minutes after four”, “Thirty minutes after two”, or “Forty-five minutes after eight”. Do not mix up the way you talk about time by occasionally saying “Five to nine” or “Half past eleven”.
- Making passing of small-time blocks “visual”. Paper chains are one way to do this! Each link represents a period of time from one to five minutes in blocks of no more than thirty minutes. The adult takes the responsibility of removing one link every one to five minutes so that the child can “see” time passing.
- Consider a colour coding system when using a calendar or day-timer to assist children and youth in keeping track of things that occur over large blocks of time, such as dentist, doctor, counsellor…
Remember, it’s about trying differently not harder. If something does not work, try something else!