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Could DD have Aspergers/ASD when she has such a vivid imagination?

(38 Posts)
NonAstemia Wed 13-Jun-12 20:53:59

DD is 9 and does have lots of Aspergers/ASD traits. The reason I always thought that she probably isn't on the spectrum is that she has a very vivid imagination. She makes up long and convoluted stories (she's currently on page sixtysomething of the novel she's writing grin) and plays for hours with her model animals. She's got a couple of friends that she plays with and they play imaginative games, however DD is the one that drives this; she dictates the plot, assigns everyone else their roles and has to really be pushed to compromise and let anyone change the game slightly. She won't play with her animals with anyone else; she puts them away when people come round. confused She loves me to play with them (I only do this occasionally now she's older) but again she dictates exactly what she wants you to do; she's extremely prescriptive.

My question is, for those of you who have DCs on the spectrum, do any of your children engage in imaginative play and storytelling? I'd read that one of the primary characteristics of someone with ASD is their inability to use 'social imagination'. Is that the same as imaginative play or is that something different?

Forgive my ignorance please!

Bloody iPad - intonations not into nations!

Timandra Thu 14-Jun-12 14:10:52

My DD played beautifully with a psychologist during her play assessment. She did things she would never do with another child. I don't really understand why she did it but she still got a diagnosis.

It would be interesting to see if she can transfer her skills to playing with her peers. If nothing else it will help her to feel more socially successful as she gets older if she can be more cooperative.

Jennylee Thu 14-Jun-12 19:50:41

lacking imagination, it can mean social imagination as in social situations, not have the 'mind reading skills' to get the non -verbal cues and understand what is going on in the same way as everyone else does automatically. not so much the making up stuff kind of imagination. Empathy is confusing too it does not mean sympathy, in ASD context it means knowing and feeling what the other person is feeling using intuition. I used to say my son cannot have aspergers, he has a vivid imagination and lots of empathy. But it is the medical jargon use of these words not the common use of these words, slightly different meaning of these words, can confuse the hell out of people. don't know if that makes any sense, but we looked up ASD and thought he didnt have it. when we read aspergers by tony attwood , thats when we understood what was really meant by lacks imagination, lacks empathy

NonAstemia Thu 14-Jun-12 20:14:37

Thanks so much - lots more food for thought here. DD has always been what I thought was empathetic to others' pain; if a child falls down in the playground, for instance, she'd be straight over there to pick them up. Yet she doesn't see when a child is giving her very clear signals to back off. confused

I will keep reading and I think I'm going to ask the GP for a referral. I'm feeling a bit baffled by it at the moment so I'll do some reading of the forum and books people have kindly recommended on here, and see whether that makes things any clearer.

Timandra Fri 15-Jun-12 18:47:00

The lack of empathy associated with ASD seems to be related to people's inability to read the more subtle signs that people are upset or distressed in some way.

If my DDs saw someone in tears or shouting for help they would be there to help like a shot. However if I'm upset about something it is far easier to hide it from them (and my DH) than it is to hide it from my friends.

They also take people as read so if someone says they are OK they will accept that as the truth. It isn't that they don't care that this person might be trying to be brave or considerate and hide their true feelings. It just wouldn't occur to them that the person concerned could be lying.

These things can make them appear to lack empathy whereas they are extremely kind and caring when they can see that there is a need.

NonAstemia Sat 16-Jun-12 12:09:01

I've reserved 'Aspergers' and 'Freaks, Geeks...' from the library so maybe that will clarify things a bit more for me. Yesterday we went to a HE group, and again she was the first one there (the only child there in fact!) when a little girl was crying. I tried using some sarcasm with her yesterday (not being nasty or anything) to see if she got it, and she did. Then when her dad arrived yesterday and asked if she enjoyed the group she said 'oh no it was rubbish and the worst thing ever' with a deadpan face and then started grinning (she really enjoyed it). Would a child with aspergers do this? confused

Sorry, I feel like I'm asking really stupid questions! Hopefully I'll be much better informed after reading the Atwood book.

you can't go on like this grin

My dd has very dry sense of humour and understands sarcasm too.

NonAstemia Sat 16-Jun-12 15:28:12

Aaaarrggh! grin

You're right tough! I'll read 'Aspergers' and see how much fits.

Timandra Sat 16-Jun-12 15:41:51

The thing is every child on the spectrum has their own particular profile.

My DD1 gets sarcasm if family use it and can also use it herself. What she struggles with is when less familiar people use it, particularly her peers.

People may tell you that your child can't be autistic because she does or doesn't do a certain thing. That is rubbish. It is the overall picture which matters and the effect that picture ahs on the child's ability to function in everyday life.

Does that help?

Ineedalife Sat 16-Jun-12 16:03:04

Non, I think because your Dd is bright she is able to learn how to use things such as sarcasm. Dd3 can also use sarcasm to a degree ie she could say "yeah, I like that alot, not" but she misses sarcasm in daily conversations and she also takes things very literally which can make her seem very gullible. She has grown up with 2 teenage sisters in the house so she has been exposed to a fair amount of this type of language.

When we spoke to the MH nurse at CAMHS who specialises in ASD he said he meets lots of Autistic, bright children who are able to learn responses and ways to use language but they don't necessarily have the natural language skills that NT children have.

The SALT that DD3 saw suggested to us to explain idioms to Dd3 because once she has been told what they mean she remembers but she cannot instictively work them out and she takes them literally eg by looking out of the window and laughing when the SALT said "It's raining cats and dogs" she was unable to explain what this might mean.

NonAstemia Sat 16-Jun-12 16:07:07

Er... sort of... grin I really appreciate your input Timandra. I guess that's the thing with it being a spectrum; people on that spectrum are going to have very differing characteristics and ways of manifesting their autism.

NonAstemia Sat 16-Jun-12 17:05:54

Sorry Ineed, hadn't realised I'd cross-posted with you. DP and I both have a pretty ironic sense of humour, and DP has always used humour with a sprinkling of sarcasm to diffuse tense situations between DD and me, so I guess she's learnt sarcasm and irony over the years. DP's humour used to send DD into a rage, although she's better now and sometimes laughs along or joins in. Similarly her Grandad is always teasing her and she gets furious with him and is quite rude to him. They adore each other though and bait each other for hours. hmm I suppose noone likes being teased though, really, do they?

I'll try bringing up some idioms that she wouldn't have heard of and see how she reacts. Poor child is under a microscope at the moment! grin

Ineedalife Sat 16-Jun-12 17:19:35

Bless hergrin

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