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

36 thoughts on “Time

    1. Sometimes times seems to have stood still and a moment has been made a fixed point that can travel with us in the background on and on… to appear to be whispering that moment again from over our shoulder, whispering the memories to the ear and making our hair stand on end, but that because of love we don’t really want to forget those that were in that moment of time and we bring them with us.

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      1. Maybe some would call the memories of events baggage, but to climb on board to travel forward I choose to take them with me. Who else could have them as a carry on? They will be remembered, worts and all.

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  1. That’s why Isobelle doesn’t do exams, or one of dozens of reasons. She has eye problems so it looks like scribbles. She is physically sick, anxiety takes over. She writes like a toddler learning how to write. It’s so sad for children with disabilities 😥

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  2. My son struggles with the passage of time too. But as he’s gotten older, he seems to be a little better with it. Or perhaps it’s that he’s developing coping tools. Have you ever heard of the time timer? It’s a timer with a clock face that visually shows time passing. I found one on the UK Amazon site- “Yunbaoit Visual Analog Timer, Silent Countdown Clock, Time Management Tool for Kids and Adults”. Both my son and husband struggle to sync with the solar day, sometimes being up all night if they’re wrapped up in hyperfocusing and then sleeping most of the day. It seems to coincide with attention deficit disorder. I don’t know what sort of allowances your schools have, but if Hawklad were in the US, he’d be allowed extra time to complete exams. Do share with him your tips and tricks.

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  3. If you don’t mind my saying, time IS just a number. We are taught as children to join the consensus, that whatever time it is in your time zone is the correct time for you. And that is the problem here, I think, for Hawklad and people like him. While they see the truth, the rest of us tell them “they are wrong” when they know they are right. They cannot adjust well to our “social conditions.” I feel for Hawklad and people like him. They are not able to accept “our reality,” because they do not not how to fit themselves into it.

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  4. I have never liked time. Never a friend, always too fast or too slow, or nonexistent when you desperately need a few seconds more… I stopped looking at clocks when I retired and have never been happier…

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  5. My oldest son (middle child) has been an example of being in the moment. For a 6 minutes walk home from kindergarten it took him 45 to 60 minutes. He got lost in the moment together with his friend. They played, watched insects, ran up and down the hill. He was, what others call “a dreamer”… and although it was challenging at times, I have admired him for that.
    Time is such a stress factor when it comes to simply being.

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