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Pretend play

(25 Posts)
lougle Mon 10-Feb-14 13:42:05

School SENCO says 'DD2 can dress up and join in a role'.

I say 'yes, but can't make up imaginary scenarios and can't break out of the role.'

For instance, only recently at home has she joined in dd3's pretend play scenarios. But if they play 'gymnastics' DD2 goes into meltdown if she isn't allowed to either wear DD3's leotard or get changed into shorts, because 'they're playing gymnastics'.

DD3 picked up a packet of regal ice and said 'brrring brrrring, brrring brrring...Oh hello! Yes, I'd love to come to Katie's house to play...'

DD2 has never and would never do anything like that. She might be able to if she was shown what to do, but then she would do that exact thing over and over again, rather than 'making it her own'.

DD2 can read jokes from a joke book and enjoys doing it (although admits that she really doesn't find it funny, and can't see why it's funny, but likes our reaction to it). She watches 'my parents are aliens' but doesn't understand why it's 'funny'.

DD3 makes up jokes and we think she's a genius, because it's the first time since having children that we've had 'joking' in the house.

What am I missing - is the SENCO right? If she's right, why are we constantly amazed when DD3 does pretend play? Why is it that we're experiencing these 'firsts' with DD3?

To me, the SENCO is confusing 'restricted imagination' with 'no imagination', but I'm not an expert in these things and she's meant to be the SEN person.

PolterGoose Mon 10-Feb-14 13:55:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Mon 10-Feb-14 13:56:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

greener2 Mon 10-Feb-14 14:02:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lougle Mon 10-Feb-14 14:04:44

Thank you - will be back later. I have to go to DD2's Dragonflies. Dreading the fall out because an invite to attend means it's most likely finishing this week.

Borka Mon 10-Feb-14 14:09:41

You're right, the SENCO's wrong. She may be the SEN person but that doesn't necessarily mean she's an expert. I've found that some professionals can't seem to distinguish between 'imagination' and 'social imagination'.

My DS has ASD (with an AS profile) and he does lots of pretend play, but it's quite odd & limited. It's also not the sort of thing he could really do with another child as it's so rigid - not that he would want another child to join in anyway.

For example, at the moment he 'is' a bee and has been for several weeks. He makes honey, pollinates flowers and stings things, over & over again. My role is to accept jars of honey from him, if I try to deviate from that all hell breaks loose.

NewBlueCoat Mon 10-Feb-14 14:14:19

lougle, you are once again talking about my dd2!

dd2 apparently shows good role play at school. No. She dresses up like a princess, and can 'be' a princess. She can join in with her friends' games, because she has been told what role to play. She can't cope when the role changes, or if, one playtime, the rest of the group want ot play horses instead of puppies (or whatever the fad is this week)

dd2 tries very hard to 'get' jokes. But just dosn't. She delights in them when they are (painfully and tediously) explained, bu then cannot extrapolate from that to form one of her own. She got a joke book from Santa <sigh, why did I do it?!> and has spent man an hour reading htem out to us and delighting in our reactions (and then asking for an explanation)

dd2 could, in your example, hold a pretend phone conversation using a toy phone (hmm not terribly difficult! yet this was used as an example of pretend play...) and, after a good few years, coupld use a different object, but clearly felt silly doing so and felt the ned to tell me 'of course I was just pretend this was a phone' (the mind boggles!)

with jokes now, she can understand simple word-related ones (eg she has a toy dolphin from a holiday which has 'I <heartshape> Wight' on it, and takes great delight in explaining the joke to anyone and everyone. But I don't think she gets that it (and similar other play-on-word jokes) are actually funny - she appreciates the play on words, but wouldn't laugh at the joke, iyswim. just understand it's technicality.

I need to start writing notes for when we see MS in March. There is so much of this everyday, not huge, btu significant in it's own way, stuff that I'm bound to forget to relate half of it...

lougle Mon 10-Feb-14 15:50:55

That's so reassuring.

Today, in Dragonflies, DD2 said that she'd seen the production her cousin was in. I asked what he was and she said 'a tortoise-boy'. I said 'oh....what's the story about, that it would have a tortoise in it.'

It turned out that the play was 'The Hare and the Tortoise'. I had to explain to DD2 that in the play, her cousin was meant to be a tortoise, not a 'tortoise-boy' and they expected you to think that he was actually a tortoise, because that's the character he was playing.

Handywoman Mon 10-Feb-14 16:48:44

It sounds Lougle as though your dd may have 'tuned out' from the auditory stuff (the story) for whatever reason and recounted/understood only what she saw. Is that possible?

FWIW the play sequences can be restricted e.g. my dd2 playing with cuddly toys: they all get up and go to sleep over and over, the sequence is never extended.

Imagination and social imagination are different concepts. Same applies to skills that are impaired (cf. diagnostic criteria) and absent.

I have literally hundreds of pictures of my dd2 dressing up - hundreds. She has an amazing imagination but restricted/repetitive play and impaired social imagination. The terminology is important, I think.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that the SENCO (special needs coordinator) is wrong to state that dressing up and pretending rules out ASD.

Ineedmorepatience Mon 10-Feb-14 17:18:24

Dd3 was the same she was able to play seemingly imaginative games with her playmobil but if you stand back and listen all she is actually doing is replaying events from school or repeating TV programs.

Same with creative writing if you dont know every episode of Tracy Beaker you could easily mistake her writing as imaginative wink

Handywoman Mon 10-Feb-14 19:15:17

I think school staff are used to making fairly superficial observations of social interaction. Partly because they don't realize it's that quality of interaction that defines it as typical or ?different, not its presence and partly due to the sheer numbers of children. My dd2's Y3 teacher declared, 'oh miniHandy has lots of friends' and that is indeed what it looks like when she is observed superficially at school. It takes knowledge, experience and a closer examination of the interaction to make those kinds of judgement. I guess this is why the ADOS was invented.

teafor1 Mon 10-Feb-14 19:43:55

Handywoman, could you explain imagination vs social imagination please? I'm in the middle of the fun game called 'what is wrong with my son' and I'm just so confused. Would this example be good social imagination:

My son and friend had set up a fort in the room and were pretending that monsters were stomping around outside of the fort. They were making stomping noises with their hands on the floor. Then the were shooting the monsters with their "guns" (torches) but they weren't dying so they themselves pretended to be dead so that the monsters would leave them alone.

Ds plays like that all the time with his sister with ideas and changes to the scenario coming from both of them. Does it count if the play is with someone he is really comfortable with (ie sister)?

lougle I'm sorry to hijack your thread.

PolterGoose Mon 10-Feb-14 19:48:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Handywoman Mon 10-Feb-14 20:01:09

tea re your son you are describing an ability to play flexibly in one context (monsters/fort/torches) which on its own is difficult to draw any conclusions from.

social imagination is being able to understand the motivations/thoughts/intentions of others. My dd2 might be offended if I made her a sandwich that she didn't fancy at that particular time because she might imagine that I know what she is thinking, so something that deviates would be taken as a personal affront. She might therefore get angry.

imagination is what it is. can a child pretend to be a cat/horse/dog/princess? high functioning kids with ASD can often do this, although some of the aspects of play may be restricted e.g. only playing one restricted scenario or the same princess etc.

teafor1 Mon 10-Feb-14 20:07:49

Thanks Polter and Handy.

ConstantCraving Mon 10-Feb-14 20:43:20

My DD can't do pretend play with others, but she does pretend to be a chicken all the time - but to her its real and she won't come out of role, so that she is always to be referred to as chicken and gets upset if called a girl. She spends a lot of time in her imaginary world and has recently started talking gibberish (she is usually very coherent) which is a worry.

lougle Mon 10-Feb-14 21:17:05

Poltergoose I've just read that first chapter of Tony Attwood's book. I am sad beyond belief. It is DD2. Why, oh why, is she not getting the help she needs? Why am I having to try and get her 'noticed'?

I wonder, by the time she gets help, will there be any 'her' left?

PolterGoose Mon 10-Feb-14 21:21:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Handywoman Mon 10-Feb-14 21:34:19

massive, massive (((hug))) for Lougle

youarewinning Mon 10-Feb-14 21:47:56

Lougle - you know your right. It's horrid seeing you and DD2 having to fight for her rights to support.

My DS does not like dressing up - unless it's a character he knows iyswim?

He also appears to have imagination - again it is limited in that he can play cars but they only do what they do (eg police car does a chase) and can make very scarily accurate sound effects too. He is also domineering but in a way where he feels others their character is wrong, doing the wrong thing ect because he can't see they are acting a part. They are just doing it wrong!

If he tells a funny joke once, he'll tell it over and over and then explain why it's funny hmm

DS also tends to be a train or whatever - rarely just walks along the street.

youarewinning Mon 10-Feb-14 21:50:52

But yes my DS imagination is amazing. His social imagination though is seriously lacking.

lougle Mon 10-Feb-14 22:43:14

DD2's favourite joke right now:

Knock Knock
(Who's there)
(Lucy who)
Lucy your tights are falling down.


She says she got it from her joke book.


I've just googled it and seen a knock knock joke 'Lucy lastic'

So I've gone through to the dining room and found her joke book.

The actual joke is:

Knock Knock
(Who's there)
(Lucy who)
Lucy lastic - your tights are falling down!

She's obviously not realised that it's saying 'loose elastic' and she's just remembered the name and then thought it's funny that someone's tights are falling down! <lightbulb moment>

Ok, I'll have to tell her in the morning.

NewBlueCoat Tue 11-Feb-14 08:18:36

Lougle, dd2 had the same problem with the same joke!

And similar issues with your show example, except she has taken the next half-step and will explain at great length how it wasn't a real tortoise but someone dressed up like one (over enunciated as though talking to someone who has no hope of understanding), complete with a gasp at the sheer genius of whoever dreamt up the idea of actually using a costume hmm

Holycowiloveyoureyes Tue 11-Feb-14 08:19:46

This is really interesting.

I've always thought DS played with imagination, this has made me think more about it.

He'll play schools with DD, this entails him reading the register, telling DD the plan for the school day, telling her when it's playtime and doing a fire drill.

He'll play with his Darth Vader doll, he presses the button to make him talk and sometimes acts out parts of the film.

He plays with his trains. This means he pushes them round the track on the same route. He won't deviate from the route, sometimes he wants me to play with him, but this just involves pushing a car and making it wait at the level crossing, I can't make it go again until the lights stop flashing.

His cars or planes follow the same route round the house every time.

He does play with friends, usually tig or races.

If he goes into a room where he knows no one he withdraws, won't speak to them even if they speak to him, he won't interact with them at all.

Reading this makes me think actually he doesn't have social imagination at all does he?

lougle Tue 11-Feb-14 10:23:14

NewBlue - there you go! I told her this morning and she looked at me blankly and said 'oh, ok.'

Exactly, HolyCow. If you can predict what they'll do and how they'll do it, then I think it's definitely restricted!

DD2's teacher stopped me this morning to tell me that they were 'doing money last week and DD2 can't count money at all! <shock> ' I said 'I know. I have coins at home and she can't grasp it at all.'

IT.IS.ABSTRACT. and I've been telling them for a year now that she will fall apart as the curriculum deals with more abstract concepts. She can't grasp that one coin can represent two of another coin. There are no useful and simple rules to apply - think about it.

The teacher says they tap the coin to count them. It's fine for the lower denominations, but pretty tricky to get DD2 (at the stage she's at) to count on 20 or 50 from whatever number she's reached.

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