My Child Has No Concept of Time Thanks To Autism

I realize that sometimes it’s simply difficult for some children to get a grasp of, but in Cameron’s (my son) case, he doesn’t get it in the slightest. For example, he never knows what to call each meal that he has… he knows that it is breakfast, lunch, or supper… but he has no idea which it is.  I know that it’s entirely possible that we’re simply not teaching it to him in a way that’ll sink in but for comparison’s sake, my 2 year old has a better grasp of it already.

After talking to his therapist about it, she confirmed that many people with Autism (especially children) have no concept of time… it’s just something that is beyond their realm of understanding. For my son, everything is either happening, or it happened yesterday or it will just be “soon”. There is no specific date or time it happened, just “yesterday” or “soon.”

We’ve shown him calendars, we’ve shown him digital clocks… but nothing will get through to him. He’s been out of school for a month now and yet he still tells us about each of his classmate’s birthdays as if they happened yesterday. In fact, he says “yesterday, it was my friends birthday!”

In contrast though, funny enough, he is fascinated with months… he asks us “is it July now?” despite having no concept of what day or how many days has gone by. He asks purely for the sake of his curiosity, not because he understands that one month is different from another.

I’ve done a lot of reading up on Autism since my son’s diagnosis but I have to say that I’ve yet to see any articles or studies on an Autistic’s understanding on the concepts of time.  Is the therapist right? Will it be years before my son is able to get the basics on time? Will he ever?

What are your experiences with Autism and the concept of time?

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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