Time Capsule Fun

Happy New Year!

Autism Live has just posted the newest Smarty – A Time Capsule!

Creating a time capsule is an ideal activity for developing episodic memory skills.  Episodic memory, as the name suggests, refers to an individual’s memory of specific episodes or events they have experienced.  It includes the ability to recall immediately experienced episodes, recently experienced episodes and episodes experienced in the past.  In addition to remembering the information and knowledge from past experiences, it is important for children to learn to relate and apply this information and knowledge to new experiences.

Using photos and objects provides a concrete reminder of past events, making it easier for your child to recall the event.  The quick and easy version of a time capsule is to create a folder on the computer with a few pictures from each significant event in the past year and click through the pictures.  However, it can be more meaningful to have a physical reminder of the event, so if you have the time, try making a time capsule, writing in a memory journal or making a photo album.

Time capsules or memory boxes can be made for specific special events (e.g., Christmas) as well as episodes of time (e.g., 2nd grade).  A time capsule created for a specific recurring event, say a trip to Disneyland, or the first day of school, can be used as a way to prepare your child for that activity when it comes up again.

Want to learn more about teaching Episodic Memory? See the Episodic Memory lesson in Skills®.

Smarty has provided a template on the Autism Live Facebook page  with prompts for information to include in the time capsule.  These prompts should be tailored to your child’s age and skill level in order to give them the greatest opportunity to participate.

Having an established topic, such as 2013, is an excellent foundation for developing language and conversation skills.  If your child is working on one of the following Skills lessons, use this opportunity to generalize their newly acquired skills!

Tell a Story – Have your child tell you a brief story about the pictures included in the time capsule, and write it on the back of the picture.

Preferences – Your child can identify their own and others favorites in 2013.  It is interesting to see how and if these preferences change with time.

Ask/Tell  – If your child is making the time capsule with a friend or sibling, use this opportunity to learn and share information by practicing Ask/Tell discrimination.

Wh discrimination – Assist your child in interviewing family members.  Using a camera or recorder can make this activity more exciting and less demanding.

Personal Information –  Including personal information helps to capture the point in time when the time capsule was created. Side note: Personal information should be reviewed regularly, as it is a critical safety skill.

Desires – Your child may wish to include future plans or desires.  Use the Wishes & Hopes lesson section in the Desires lesson to help your child record their hopes for the New Year.

Happy 2014!