Teach Concept of Time to Kids with Autism


Time plays a vital role in our daily living. Here we are going to see how to teach time for children with autism. There are many strategies to teach time. Let’s discuss one of them here.


Before we start to teach the clock reading, let’s see the following,

Step 1: Initially, teach them Day-time and Night-time – as this is easy for them to learn by understanding the difference between light and dark. Followed by this, implement activities of child’s interest or goal-directed activities for the day-time and for the night-time.
Prepare a chart or a schedule manually and plan for the activities that have to be done at a particular time.
For instance

Play outdoor games like basketball, water games, play with sand, etc. Play indoor activities like solving a jigsaw puzzle, making craft, painting, writing, etc.

Step 2: Next, teach them Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night and prepare a chart to add activities, which includes daily activities as well, like below.

1. Brush teeth.
2. Do any physical exercise.
3. Take a shower.
4. Dress up.
5. Eat breakfast.
6. Do some academic work.
1. Have lunch.
2. Take a nap.
1. Fresh up.
2. Do outdoor activities like riding a bicycle or skipping, etc.
3. Snacks time.
4. Do table-top activities like clay moulding, coloring, paper folding activity, etc.
1. Watch TV.
2. Prepare for dinner time.
3. Get ready for the bed.
4. Bed-time story.
5. Happy nap.

Step 3: Subsequently, let’s teach the children how to read a clock.
Initially, using a digital clock verbalize to the child the time displayed on the clock and if possible ask the child to verbalize as well, the displaying time.
Followed by this, again prepare a chart with time on it, like below.

10:00 AM5:00 PM8:00 PM
Time to do academic workActivity timeDinner time

Step 4: Gradually, the digital clock is replaced with an analog clock and a schedule can be prepared as below.

Step 5: Afterwards, half past time, that is, 11:30 AM, 4:30 PM, 9:30 PM, and so on, is taught to the child and the chart is prepared related to the time.

Step 6: Then, quarter past time is taught, that is, 12:15 PM, 2:45 PM, 10:15 PM, and a schedule is made accordingly.

It is equally important to verbalize the written text in words as well, in a simple language.
The above are the examples to create a chart based on time but not limited to, as you can add more time and activities depending on the child’s and parents’ agenda.


  • Always speak in terms of am and pm and it is better to avoid 24-hour time format.
  • While using an analog clock, always choose a clock that displays numbers and not the roman numerals.
  • A wristwatch can be gifted to the child and ask the time to the child.
  • Do not ask the time randomly, until the child gets used to the concept, instead wait for the time to tick to 9, 10, 2, 5, so on and ask the child, “What is the time?”
  • Do not insist on the second hand as this may confuse the child.

It’s TIME to teach your child!

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