'Lack of imaginative play' - what exactly does this mean?

(32 Posts)
LadyintheRadiator Tue 15-Feb-11 20:49:03

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LadyintheRadiator Tue 15-Feb-11 20:50:10

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Mists Tue 15-Feb-11 21:08:57

It's fine, there have been a few threads about this IIRC.

My DS is 3.9 and adores Happy-land and animals, especially sea-creatures. He can name quite obscure ones too.

He used to just line them up but now he likes to make little collections of similar things. He also keeps things separate mainly so one set of animals will never be put with another for example although he is getting better (see pic on profile grin)

Restricted imagination is just one indicator of a possible problem but people tend to have different ideas about what it is.

It might be worth going to a drop-in SALT clinic. I had no joy from from my HV but the SALT played "with" DS and found some areas of concern which I had completely missed. He was much younger though, only 2.9.

Hope you get a few more useful replies!

LadyintheRadiator Tue 15-Feb-11 21:14:50

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LunarRose Tue 15-Feb-11 21:20:42

For mine it means that:

Everything rocket ship type shape flies into space - repeatedly

He mixes the cake, then mixes the cake again and again and again....

He plays with cars they crash - repeatedly

He does play pirates looking for treasure- but that is all he does when he plays pirates

He reenacts (word perfect) versions of Three Little Pigs and Billy Goats Gruff. You can join in with this (as long as you get it right)

TotalChaos Tue 15-Feb-11 21:22:56

Ime restricted imaginative play can be largely down to language delay, so hopeful will improve as language improves, there are two v good books you might find in the library to give you ideas, one is called the language of learning, the other is autism and play by julia moor, i,m not hinting asd btw in suggesting this book, just i found some of the advice for kids with autism is useful for language delay too.

LunarRose Tue 15-Feb-11 21:25:35

DS ia 3 and autistic

Mists Tue 15-Feb-11 21:30:28

Sorry you are so tired. Is DS a poor sleeper?

I know what you mean, I made huge allowances for my son because there was a seven year gap between DD and him. I never had brothers or experiences of little boys and was constantly told that they are slower to speak, that DD was exceptional which she was then. Peaked early grin

The thing with DS was that he always had what DH and I thought were very very individual and idiosyncratic behaviours. We even used to joke that he was doing one of his autistic-like things. It was later that we discovered he is exactly like many high-functioning autistic boys. We know several now and it is amazing how like DS was the younger ones are even down to the tone of voice and the way they draw and paint.

For us though the biggest thing was that DS did not get on well in pre-school. He does now but we actually had to remove him for six months while the diagnostic process was happening. He is back and more tolerant of other children but still very isolated and couldn't really care less about who he is with.

Perhaps ask to be referred to a developmental Paediatrician or for SALT to administer an ADOS test if autism is a concern. Sorry not trying to put thoughts into your head or alarm you but you must have an idea that speech delay / social impairment and restricted imagination are flags - I hope? blush

LadyintheRadiator Tue 15-Feb-11 21:30:37

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LadyintheRadiator Tue 15-Feb-11 21:35:49

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Mists Tue 15-Feb-11 21:46:10

Congrats on the new(ish) DD smile

Depends on the GP I suppose. I had to define autistic spectrum disorder for ours when DS was diagnosed. No it doesn't just mean behaviour problems doctor hmm

I found with DS that perhaps because he wasn't interested in interacting or speaking for so long that DH and I would observe him a lot more than you might another child, note anything he was doing and comment on it. DS is very very precise and visually / spatially aware so we did focus on those skills a lot.

moosemama Tue 15-Feb-11 21:53:27

The way it was explained to us at our ds's assessment was that the type of imaginative play they were looking for was being able to take eg a lollipop stick and pretend its a surfboard, or a book and use it as a tent for other toys. My dd is 2.1 and she was happily pretending her foam bath letters were biscuits and chips with me this morning. She also takes her balloon for a walk around the house and tells me its her dog. Ds1 would never/has never done anything like that.

He would play with pretend food etc, but mainly driven by my suggestions. So he would make me a cup of tea and bring it to me, if I showed/told him what to do, but its not something he would have considered doing on his own.

I have two ds's, one (ds2) is NT (as far as we know) and the other (ds1) has recently been diagnosed with AS. Ds1 can play with anything. If I gave him a rubberband, a pen lid and a piece of tin foil he could make a convuluted (sp?) game out of it. Ds1 would just look at me like I'd lost the plot. Ds2 builds fantastic creative structures out of lego, whilst ds1 likes lego kits that have a defined plan and structure. If ds2 touches one of ds1's models or God forbid takes a piece off one - all hell breaks loose, because they are not to be played with. Ds1 will build huge megablok buildings with his younger brother, but only if they have a specific purpose eg if they are a garage for their toy cars and then they have to be purpose designed to suit the size/shape of each car. It makes for some, er - interesting games, that usually end up in huge fights. hmm grin

My boys are now almost 9 and almost 7. When ds1 was three, he used to spend literally hours setting up his diggers on a building site playmat. Everything had to be placed in exactly the right location according to the plan and then no-one was allowed to touch it. Heaven help us if his baby brother wanted to actually move one of the diggers.

Neither boy was interested in lego when they were the same age as your ds. The both developed an interest in it at about the age of 4 1/2 - 5.

As you know, each child is different, they all develop at different rates and have different likes an dislikes. Some like order and tidiness, others seem to thrive on chaos. It really is very difficult to tell if there's a real problem or whether its just part of their character sometimes.

Is your ds's preschool attached to a school at all? If so, could you perhaps ask the SENCO to come and observe him and see if she can help?

If you are really starting to worry and get stressed about this though, it might be as well to go and see your GP and ask for a referral to a Developmental Paediatrician, who can either agree that there's perhaps some more that needs looking into a little further or will be able to put your mind at rest.

And you are not babbling on at all. This is an incredibly friendly and supportive place and you're most welcome to come and ask questions here any time you feel the need for some answers or support. smile

Eveiebaby Tue 15-Feb-11 22:13:56

DD 4.8 used to pretend her building blocks were teletubbies but when I mentioned this to Paed and SLT they thought it terribly strange (They gave her a diagnosis of ASD). I thought it was good imaginative play but obviously not sad. I wish I had something more useful to say but just thought I would share the experience.

lisad123isasnuttyasaboxoffrogs Tue 15-Feb-11 22:21:01

DDs will only do repeat play, and reinact things from RL or shown play. Both have ASD.

I would certainly take a few notes to either HV or GP

blackletterday Tue 15-Feb-11 22:58:02

Does pretend play that doesn't involve toys count? I have had slight inklings about ds1 in the past, he had a speech delay, but around 2.5, just after an initial assessment, really took off with his speech.

I was quite worried at one point, but he goes to nursery now,has done for a year and afaik is doing fine. He seems to get on well with the other children, throws himself (sometimes literally blush) into new situations.

It's hard to judge his play though, because his older (very imaginative) sister is usually bossing him about leading games.

It's odd though that none of my children really bother with the toys so much, no idea why.

silverfrog Tue 15-Feb-11 22:58:06

Hi, LITR, we chatted on your thread in behaviour re: speech delay.

the "lack of imaginative play" when used in ASD terms is a slight mis-quote of "lack of flexible thinking/social imagination"

small chidren do role play, and reenact what happens around them - so happyland figures go to the shops/pre-school/playground. and get told off in the same way that the child does (blush or is that only in this house? grin)

but the problem comes when this role play is not extended. so it follows the same pattern each time, with no changes allowed. like following a script, if you like.

fwiw, my dd2 (4 tomorrow! hw did she get so big?!) does this a lot. she will play with her kitchen, but it is always the same htign - she makes me picnics over and over. and we sit in the same place, and eat the same food. and she expects m to say pretty much the same thign (I have a few choices form a list).

to me (and I am no expert), your ds' play does sound quite rigid. the lining up, not playing with toys as they are intended (the cars), the reencting of tv programs, and not allowing any differences, and the scripted so-called imaginative play would have me talking to gp re: a referral.

I know your ds has been seeign a SALT for a while - what route into this did you have? via gp, or hv?

BialystockandBloom Tue 15-Feb-11 23:00:59

I find this one a bit confusing.

My ds is 3.9 and has asd. He has some great imaginative play in some ways - will pretend one object is another (eg tonight a cushion was a guitar), and spontaneously does things like giving me a pretend cake to eat.

But he can get stuck on the same theme for days at a time - even when he's shown a new game or idea he'll repeat this for a while. And he has never initiated a re-enactment of a scene without adult modelling in the way I've seen his nt peers do - eg getting toy animals and making them talk or act out little scenes.

He does play with figures etc but the scenes he's acting out will be the same ones. At the moment, for example, he loves his cousin's sylvanian families caravan - but that's because he's currently obsessed with toilets, and the caravan has a toilet which he can repeatedly put the sylvanian bunny on to do a wee, wipe, flush, wash hands, dry hands, and finish; do a wee, wipe, flush, wash hands, dry hands, and finish; and repeat to fade.... grin <loses will to live>

BialystockandBloom Tue 15-Feb-11 23:03:33

x-posts with silverfrog.

Sounds like our dc are pretty similar!

Happy birthday to dd! smile Hope she has a great day.

(btw I thought you'd left?! Are you back or am I mixing you up with someone else? confused

silverfrog Tue 15-Feb-11 23:08:09

<I lurk>

<and post occasionally>

thanks for birthday wishes - dd2 is my "NT" one confused (but not very confused, really, because I now she isn't fully NT, but there is no way we'd get a dx for her at the moment, so we are enjoying timeoff that particular treadmill...)

LadyintheRadiator Wed 16-Feb-11 08:36:49

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tabulahrasa Wed 16-Feb-11 09:41:54

Lady, my DS has Asperger's (and had a lack of imaginative play, I don't think it really counts now he's a teenager, rofl) my DD is as typical as they come...

DS was a PFB, we read books and sang songs, we made art projects, played in the park and drew pictures, DD was born when he was 4, she was shoved in front of the tweenies and dragged up to nursery and school twice a day, occasionally I let her play with a pen and an argos book hmm lol

DD didn't need me to develop imaginative play and all that input made not a blind bit of difference to DS

So don't blame anything you've done - you can't cause it by letting them watch tv and not painting

LadyintheRadiator Wed 16-Feb-11 11:57:21

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tabulahrasa Wed 16-Feb-11 12:00:09

oh I didn't realise it was the same OP anyway blush

I'm clearly very unobservant

Oblomov Wed 16-Feb-11 13:16:05

Glad to see posters I know.
Glad I came to this thread, becasue I too wasn't quite sure what the definition was.
We had CAHMS assessment last month, for ds1(7), possible AS, possibel ODD. She said that he needed a DISCO assessemtn, which is great news, but I think the waiting time is long.
I told her about his non imaginative play. He only copies, scenes from Clone Wars and stuff, but not imagination itself. I taught him how to be a waiter in a resturarnt , and now he serves me, but it is always exactly the same scene.

To me, that is, what others have said, one of the classic signs of non imaginative play, from an ASD perspective.

LadyintheRadiator Wed 16-Feb-11 17:05:04

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