Day 16 of 99 Days to FASDay: Confabulation


Today’s NB tip is all about confabulation. I must admit I do not think I had ever heard the word confabulation before I adopted the maiden. I learned rather quickly though that she wasn’t lying – she was confabulating:

[k uhn-fab-y uhley-sh uhn]
1. the act of confabulating; conversation; discussion.
2. Psychiatry. the replacement of a gap in a person’s memory by a falsification that he or she believes to be true.


According to Teresa Kellerman in an article on the Come Over To website:

Making up stories and telling tall tales is a normal part of being a typical 4-5 year old. Scientific research done by Dr. Edward Riley shows that many kids with FASD have an arrested social development that stops at about the level of a 4 to 6 year old. Is it reasonable for us to expect them to develop the social and moral conscience of an adult, or even that which we would expect of a typical 8-, 10-,or 12-year-old (whatever chronological age we might be dealing with)?

Even though our children’s ability to control the lying might be impaired, rather than excuse the behavior, we need to deal with it in an effective manner.

So next time your child or adult son or daughter tells a tale that seems too tall, try to think about the brain based difference and see the bigger picture. Make enquiries, ask questions, investigate. Help them recall an incident instead of confronting them.

One of the techniques a therapist suggested we use to help the maiden with her recall was to draw a cartoon like picture to find out what happened BEFORE the incident as well as AFTER, not just the actual incident. For instance, if there was an incident that happened during recess, we drew a picture of the incident. Then we worked backwards and forwards. This didn’t always help, but sometimes I was able to get the bigger picture. I also learned rather quickly to ask teachers for their perspective, before I made up my mind about an incident based on the report from the maiden.

Here are some tips and strategies from FASD Network of Saskatchewan (Canada):


In my younger years, one of the jobs I wanted to do “when I grew up” was be a detective, like Jim Rockford on the television show the Rockford Files. I guess in my own way I did. My investigative skills are highly developed since adopting the maiden!

Come back tomorrow for another useful tip!

2 thoughts on “Day 16 of 99 Days to FASDay: Confabulation

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