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Is this imagination? Social imagination? Need the advise of the wise ones!

(32 Posts)
youarewinning Sun 23-Feb-14 17:25:30

Many of you have got to know me over the past year. DS(9) on waiting list for ASD assessment. I find myself questioning sometimes (and probably overanalysing) some of his quarks to prove or disprove a probable dx.

Anyway - he has this saying he uses at the start of most sentences. It seems to lead to the fact he has an imagination but I think it's more that he just can't accept that things are the way they are, also it's not conversational and I would question if it's social imagination?

The saying is " imagine if......." It can be that we are drinking along a country road and I'll say look how high that river is. DS will reply " imagine if a boat went down the river and caused big waves" it's like his reply doesn't fit what I've said?

It's so hard to explain but he seems stuck in this way of making conversation. He does it about new houses built, imagine they were built differently, about roads we are driving down - imagine they were built differently. He then does give lots of detail about how they could be made and why. The thing is when he does this about houses and infrastructure he seems to genuinely think the design is rubbish!
It seems he views the whole world as built incorrectly and he could do it better!

Any insight or experience in this?

youarewinning Sun 23-Feb-14 21:02:45

lougle? Your knowledgable about language!

Handywoman Sun 23-Feb-14 22:46:47

dd2 has similar though more subtle idiosyncratic use of language. Aged 4 she would say 'and that's why' to link clauses together. Now it's 'even you know I' which sort of passes by unnoticed but when you are their Mum you hear it all the time. I believe it is an example of stereotyped, unusual expressive language. Could well be part of an ASD (certainly is for dd2).

Handywoman Sun 23-Feb-14 22:51:19

Also... To think those responses demonstrate imagination is barking up the wrong tree. They are formulaic inflexible ways of communicating. Plus if the reply is not relevant this indicates pragmatic language problems (social communication) more specifically his response isn't in tune with you but remains on his own 'agenda '

Well that's my kitchen-sink SALT analysis anyway!!!

troutsprout Sun 23-Feb-14 22:56:01

Ds creates scenarios a lot too... Always has done. He has always been creative and imaginative in that way. He likes making up stories.
However, he finds it impossible to imagine what another person in real life is thinking at any given moment despite given lots of clues and he cannot predict what a person might do / say/ think next. In particular... He is hopeless at imagining what another person might think about HIM or his actions
Ive always thought this is the difference between imagination and social imagination.... Lol.. Probably totally wrong.

claw2 Sun 23-Feb-14 22:58:43

Its probably more a sign of rigid thinking. The way he thinks things should be? My ds has a good imagination, but it is very much HIS imagination and for HIS benefit. I always think of social imagination, as being able to incorporate other peoples ideas with yours.

Would he let you join his thinking?

youarewinning Sun 23-Feb-14 22:59:54

Thanks handy you actually confirmed what I was thinking. smile because he uses the words 'imagine if' he appears to have this fab imagination. However when he starts almost every sentence that way he clearly has become stuck!

He just had a SALT assessment. The report does state his tone indicates he was clearly trying to communicate using the rules he's been taught.

Yeah great - he can perform because he's intelligent and knows its a test iyswim? But he cannot do that in daily life when he's just talking to someone.

Thank you for using 'inflexible' that's a brilliant way to describe it - that's what I'll be using in future to describe his language.

I did play ya game wink with him today when he had to start all sentences without using imagine if (well an hours worth!). Every single one became " if so and so was built/ made differently" then I asked him to end it with the result of it being built differently. He struggled but after giving him support in outcomes his sentences became very rigidly formed this way. until the game was up grin

claw2 Sun 23-Feb-14 23:00:13

sorry x-posted with others!

youarewinning Sun 23-Feb-14 23:03:50

And no claw you cannot give him ideas. He'll just question those and repeat his. Sometimes I get a 'yeah, but with....' And he repeats his ideas. So he is kinda learning to compromise and accept others ideas. (And yeah instead of an outright no is progress!)

I hate to admit I can end up getting annoyed and tell him he just has to accept sometimes things are that way because someone else built them and that he will have to accept that some things are the way they are. blush

Handywoman Sun 23-Feb-14 23:20:19

It's great that he was willing to join your game youare you can definitely work with this, you could try something similar, maybe using visual support if his reading is good? Was assessment by NHS or private SALT? Is he getting help with his language?

claw2 Sun 23-Feb-14 23:20:38

Ds will sit there and agree with my ideas, then just follow his own agenda anyhow! He has learnt to be less argumentative!

I think 'social imagination/communication' is also more about being flexible and socially responsive. Ds is usually very systematic, he can ask reciprocal questions, but he is only interested in accumulating concrete facts about the topic.

I could say when I went out today, I saw a man walking his dog and a helicopter landed on his head. Ds would ask something like 'what colour was the dog'!

youarewinning Sun 23-Feb-14 23:30:08

Ds would answer. How did he land on the dog? Did he not use his equipment (list of long names of stuff I've never heard of) to land safely. Imagine if the helicopter went to land on the dog and the dog ran away and the man chased the dog and the helicopter....... And a whole list of possible scenarios that use logic!

Salt assessment was nhs. not having any help. Dx social communication difficulties, processing difficulties and information planning difficulties. Continue to work as I am to help reduce his stammer, understand ds is a rule based learner and use simple and non literal language. Grammar and information giving at lower end of average for age. Other than that he's very intelligent with a great vocabulary. Oh and continue to get ds to look for clues in surroundings etc. Can contact salt if I have concerns.

I'm pushing for ed psych assessment which will hopefully mean someone sees him and observes him in the environment rather than a clinical setting iyswim?

claw2 Mon 24-Feb-14 00:22:04

In my experience of NHS EP's they tend not to observe (unless you ask), just formal assessments on 1:1. I did ask NHS EP to observe ds and she did briefly in the playground.

It is much better IMO if you have a high functioning child to do both. Indi EP assessment, included a long observation of ds and I think it revealed far more about ds than the formal assessment did, as it described his functional ability within the classroom setting.

In fact observations of ds, by all professionals including SALT too have proved far more revealing.

youarewinning Mon 24-Feb-14 07:03:21

I think I'm going to have to go down the indi route tbh. But as stupid as it sounds I also,want the NHS to,provide what ds is entitled too.

StarlightMcKingsThree Mon 24-Feb-14 07:06:30

You should use his motivation to communicate in this way to teach problem solving skills eg

Imagine if I'm trying to eat some cereal and I have run out of milk? What should I do?

But I can't find my shoes. What should I do?

Well the shop is closed, what should I do?

And keep going. DD would have context appropriate answers but ds will say things like 'get rocket backpack and fly to find a cow'.

By regular practice at the socially appropriate answers we have begun to see a small change and improvement in the sensibleness of answers.

youarewinning Mon 24-Feb-14 07:09:29

That's great. Thanks Star

Julia2132009 Mon 24-Feb-14 10:22:59

Youarewinning: I think some people on the spectrum can be incredibly imaginative, but it will be a different sort of imagination – not a social one. I don’t know whether your son is on the spectrum or not, but I just had to say it sounds like he has a wonderful imagination – what a brilliant boy! The world needs people who don’t just accept things as they are, but have the imagination to see how they could make things better.

As Temple Grandin says: “Who do you think made the first stone spear? That wasn't the yakkity yaks sitting around the campfire. It was some Asperger sitting in the back of a cave figuring out how to chip rocks into spearheads. Without some autistic traits you wouldn't even have a recording device to record this conversation on."

None of that is in any way to trivialize whatever difficulties you may be having, which I would totally sympathize with – I have a ds who is struggling terribly in school. Good luck with the assessment. I hope whatever happens you have confidence in the outcome.

youarewinning Mon 24-Feb-14 16:37:27

Wow julia that quote is amazing and does really resonate with my DS. And it was specifically AS that they mentioned. I do believe DS lacks any sort of social communication and that is why despite his huge imagination his literacy is poor.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 24-Feb-14 17:15:51

I think trout is right - at least in terms of assessment by salt or comm paed. Both boys were quizzed as to what a friend was and what they thought of them. DS1 was outraged (at home but mute in consultations) 'how the hell do I know?!'

Imagination is not the same thing as social imagination - especially as a child gets older. It is imagination (implicit knowledge) in real life situations and not use of the 'made up' in play.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 24-Feb-14 17:21:54

What child being assessed thought their friend might say they about the child being assessed. (If that makes it any clearer!).

mrsbaffled Mon 24-Feb-14 17:54:00

This website explains social imagination well:

My son has considerable deficits in social imagination but we didn't get a full ASD dx as he fell just under the dx criteria for the other 2 areas of the triad of impairments. He has a great imagination for stories etc but hopeless at dealing with change and is obsessive in play and speech.

youarewinning Mon 24-Feb-14 21:01:37

Thanks for the link. Reading that list was like reading his salt report. Although the salt list of things he struggles with! I'm going to have a look at the website as it looks like I could use the bullet points with evidence to highlight where DS has specific areas of weakness or difficulty. It's very clear and parent friendly!

ConstantCraving Mon 24-Feb-14 21:12:39

Hi - just butting in to say thanks for that link baffled - it explains a lot that I had wondered about with DD regarding both imagination and communication.

youarewinning Mon 24-Feb-14 22:46:52

Hey craving -'it's not butting in. All for one on here. smile In fact I expect you and I will be constant support as both going thought the dx process ATM.

lougle Mon 24-Feb-14 22:54:19

DD2 says 'imagine' a lot, if she wants to explain something.

But she says 'Imagine this is the playground. This is this and that is that...'

She's never 'imagining', she's recalling.

Her 'imagining' extends to 'imagine if I farted...' - hardly social grin

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