What Is ADHD Time Blindness?

time blindness. This infographic is from Goally's pinterest and talks about what is time blindness and tips on how to deal with this.
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There are several underlying symptoms of ADHD that affect how kids function in their day-to-day life. The CDC estimates that 1 in 10 children in the US have ADHD. The prevalence of ADHD is rising as more people become familiar with the symptoms, and testing happens more frequently. Parents need to be aware of the symptoms to understand what their child struggles with and to help them access resources for support. One symptom that kids with ADHD experience is time blindness. But what is ADHD time blindness, and how can you help your child manage it? We’ve got a guide to the causes of ADHD time blindness and how to cope below.

What Is ADHD Time Blindness?

Most neurotypical people can estimate how much time has elapsed. Time blindness is when someone cannot sense how much time has passed or remember when certain things happened. Anyone can experience time blindness, but it’s especially prevalent in people with neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD and autism.

Causes and Symptoms of ADHD Time Blindness

Time blindness is typically a result of difficulties with executive function skills, affecting someone’s ability to process sensory information. Sensory inputs like light levels and temperature changes that indicate the passage of time are difficult for people with autism and ADHD to process.  Symptoms of time blindness can include:

  • Poor time management
  • Procrastination
  • Boredom
  • Losing track of time
  • Being distracted
  • Impulsivity
  • A poor internal clock
A blue Goally tablet that says "Make Bedtime Easy" above it. There's a bedtime routine showing kids how to brush their teeth.

These symptoms can heavily disrupt your child’s day flow if left untreated. Some ways that your child can display this disruption include:

  • Being unable to remain organized at school
  • Getting distracted when moving from one task to another
  • Missing essential deadlines like school projects
  • Incorrectly judging how long tasks will take, such as homework
  • Struggling to complete schoolwork
  • Being accused of being lazy
  • Feeling like a disappointment to parents and teachers
a young girl with adhd playing on her phone experiencing time blindness
Read more: What Is ADHD Masking?

Inheriting ADHD

Did you know that if a parent has ADHD, their child has a 50% chance of also having ADHD? Take a brief quiz below to see if you have common symptoms of ADHD.

Quiz: Do I have ADHD?

Please Note: This information is not meant to diagnose or treat and should not take the place of personal consultation, as needed, with a qualified healthcare provider and/or BCBA.

The number of attempts remaining is 1

1 / 10

Is it hard for you to stay focused on conversations?

2 / 10

Did you get in trouble for excessive talking as a child?

3 / 10

Do you find yourself fidgeting most of the time?

4 / 10

Do have a hard time waiting in lines, to the point where you avoid lines altogether?

5 / 10

Do you have trouble concentrating in a noisy environment?

6 / 10

Do you lose things often?

7 / 10

Do you need help remembering significant events like birthdays or doctor’s appointments?

8 / 10

Do you wait until the very last minute to complete a task?

9 / 10

Do you finish other people’s sentences for them?

10 / 10

Is it difficult for you to sit still for long periods of time?


How to Help Your Child Cope With ADHD Time Blindness

There are a few things you or your child can do to help combat the effects. You and your child can work through time blindness by:

1. Identifying Areas of Impact

It’s important to observe the specific areas in your child’s life where they commonly experience time blindness, such as during school lessons or social activities. Once you’ve identified these areas, you can concentrate on finding effective strategies for each episode of time blindness.

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When your child becomes overwhelmed during activities, it’s helpful to assist them in processing their emotions to prevent sensory overload. Introducing buffer time during or between activities can be beneficial in reducing the feeling of being overstimulated. This buffer time provides your child with a much-needed break, allowing them to effectively manage their time without feeling overwhelmed.

2. Recognizing and Avoiding Time-Sucking Activities

Neurotypical people have no problem realizing when time is running away from them. It’s a natural, innate ability they have. Neurodivergent people with ADHD or autism may often get lost in whatever they’re doing and not notice that hours have passed.

children with adhd playing apps on their devices, a time-sucking activity not realizing how much time is passing because of time blindness
Read more: Kids Time Blindness Test

Identifying these time-sucking activities is the first step to managing your time when partaking in any. For example, if listening to podcasts or music is a time-sucking activity, set your playlist to turn off in an hour on its own (often a feature for night mode).

3. Using Technology

Living in a world of technology allows us to employ tools like apps and alarms to help combat the effects of ADHD time blindness. If your child is battling to remember things, have them make setting alarms part of their daily routine. Set as many alarms as your child needs if one isn’t enough.

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4. Develop a Time Management System for ADHD Time Blindness

Developing and using time management systems can help your child cope better with any time blindness episodes. Teaching your child these early coping mechanisms can help them better manage this symptom throughout their life. Use tools like Bullet Journals, alarms, and other tools to help remind you to switch tasks.

There are no one-size fits all situations when it comes to managing time blindness. However, knowing how it affects your child is essential to help them develop coping skills to last throughout their life. If left unmanaged, it can jeopardize relationships, work, and more in later years.

Try Goally For Your Child With ADHD

Goally is an excellent option for many families that have a child with ADHD. Use game play as a points-based motivator for your kiddo with ADHD, help them learn emotional regulation skills, and watch them grow! It’s simple to set up and has an expert-informed design.

Goally is the best skill building tablet for kids to learn life skills like brushing teeth, getting ready for bed, morning routines, social skills, and more. The text reads "Goally: The skill Building Kid's Tablet"

Start Managing ADHD Time Blindness Today

Understanding time blindness is essential if you have a neurodivergent child or a child with ADHD. Remember, it doesn’t help the child to blame them for being lazy when time blindness is a sensory issue they cannot fully control. Instead, helping your child to create good habits can teach them to be responsible with their time.

This post was originally published on 12/09/2022. It was updated on 11/22/2023.

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We help parents teach their kids life skills, like doing bedtime and morning independently. Backed by science, we incorporate evidence-based practices and expert-informed designs in all of our apps.