Poor Hawklad was trying to do a test paper at home today. Three long questions and 20 short ones in 90 minutes. That’s no fun at the best of times, especially when it’s a subject that he has zero interest in. But it’s so much harder when TIME is a mystery. He just can’t visualise time. He can’t get his head round it. It’s taking years but he can now tell the time from a digital clock but it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just a number. He even says it as a number rather than an actual time. He can be doing things and he has no real handle of whether he has been at it for minutes, or for hours. That’s a huge problem in exams. Clocks that tell him nothing and so little grasp on how much time might have elapsed. It’s a common issue for many. It’s often cited as one of the most common problems individuals on the autism spectrum face in their daily life’s.
As a child I struggled with this. I would go out and not return home for hours, yet to me it felt like I had only been gone for moments. It was put down to my absentmindedness. But it wasn’t. Even when I tried I couldn’t get my head round time. The only exam I failed at school was in English. I took the subject a year earlier. 3 hours, 3 questions. As I finished the first question, in my head I was on track. 2 hours left…. That’s when the head teacher called out, ‘that’s time, please put your pens down’. Then a year later I had the reverse of the problem. I blasted through every paper and every question as if time was rapidly draining away. As I finished each exam I waited for the ‘times over’ call, but it didn’t come. I think I was finishing each paper within an hour with two hours to spare. I just couldn’t get my head round time.
As the years went on I have improved a bit. Mobile technology has helped. But I still struggle with the concept of time. Its often easier for me to see things in terms of events rather than timings. Thinking ‘just under Two hours’ doesn’t really help me but rather thinking ‘length of a football match’ does. I can feel that, I can visualise that. That is something Hawklad is now going to play with to see if it helps. Rather than thinking 45 minutes to do a question, trying to answer the question during say the first half of a football match.
Problem is that while he’s wrestling with understanding time, he’s not focusing fully on what he should be. Sometimes TIME doesn’t help at all.
I must admit