23 month old and pretend play... what is it??

(14 Posts)
Aaliah1234 Tue 25-Jun-19 20:55:17

Hi all,

I’ve been literally bombarding mumsnet with questions this past week as I’ve lost sleep over LOs development.

I’ve looked at the ASQ questionnaires and one of the questions asked for pretend play. What is pretend play at this stage (he’s going to be 2 next month).

So far I’ve only seen him use odd objects like box or bowls as a hat. He pretends he is asleep sometimes and would go around the house making car noises (brum brumm).

If I teach him to pretend play then does that count? Like today I gave him a wooden cube and said it was a cake, I pretended to have it and he bit on it (??) then he pretended to have it as well. He got another one out of his bag and said chocolate cake!

Other things he’s done is feed his dinosaurs. He doesn’t have a dolly or anything so I’m not sure what he will do with it (but I’m going to get him one). He would pretend to drink out of a cup if I do.

When playing with play doh if I make ‘pizza’ then so would he. If I pretend he pretends. But not sure if this copying counts though.

I’m worried as he doesn’t seem social with other adults (good with kids though) and hasn’t done much of pretend play.

OP’s posts: |
SprogletsMum Tue 25-Jun-19 20:57:40

I would say that counts. I'm not an expert but I've got 4dc. They all pretend play differently, my 1st dc didn't pretend much til he got to nursery and played with other children. The other dc had an older sibling to teach them. So following from that logic, learning to pretend play from you is the same as learning it from other children and totally normal.

BlackeyedGruesome Wed 26-Jun-19 07:35:11

dd pretend played. still autistic.

drspouse Wed 26-Jun-19 10:35:32

I believe (though not an expert) that some children with ASD use simpler pretend play and it's when it gets more elaborate that they fall down (BEG may be able to back this up).
But yes, for 23 months, that is what they do. And from what you say it sounds like the dinosaurs and the hat are off his own bat.

LightTripper Wed 26-Jun-19 11:54:36

Copying is good.

Like BlackeyedGruesome my daughter pretend played but is still autistic. I think an expert would probably still have said the pretend play was different somehow but I don't know how. She pretend played in her ADOS too, but still got a Dx.

I think copying is good, engaging with you is good. I would just focus on encouraging all forms of play and engagement with you and others, and not worry too much for now about what is "normal" or not. If your child is playing and copying then they are learning. Whether they are learning in a "normal" way or an "unusual" way is less important.

I know this is easier said than done!

Aaliah1234 Wed 26-Jun-19 13:25:40

Sorry Lighttripper what is ADOS? I was speaking to another mum the other day, she said her son got diagnosed because he didn’t pretend play at 2.5 years and also that he didn’t walk until 21 months and didn’t talk until 2. So this whole pretend play seems to be really important in terms of diagnosis.

Having said that, my niece never pretend played and she’s not autistic. She refused to play with dolls and was only ever interested in cars and just was a really quiet baby/toddler.

I did the MCHAT test and it came as no cause for concern. Obviously I’m no expert but it’s made me calm down a teeny bit.

OP’s posts: |
Aaliah1234 Wed 26-Jun-19 13:26:29

Blackeyed what were the other reasons apart from pretend playing for her be diagnosed?

OP’s posts: |
LightTripper Wed 26-Jun-19 15:26:37

ADOS is one of the assessment tools that is used to diagnose people with autism. It's a play-based assessment (so basically the assessor will play with and converse with the person - depending on the age and stage of development of the person being assessed - and make an assessment on that basis of whether they meet the criteria for diagnosis - which is (i) "impairments" to social interaction and (ii) repetitive or restrictive behaviours (which could be something very obvious like flapping or spinning, or something more subtle like being particularly focused on certain activities or special interests).

LightTripper Wed 26-Jun-19 15:29:09

Another thing to flag: I think for autistic children it would be more usual to be good at socialising with adults and not so much with kids, rather than the other way round.

Aaliah1234 Wed 26-Jun-19 19:52:41

Thank you. I’m a bit worried but trying to stay calm.

I bought him a baby feeding set and he was eager to open it. He gave the baby its dummy, then fed him food and gave him milk. Then got bored with it.

He also poured tea for me out of his tea set and pretended to drink it and offered it to me.

Do these all count as pretend play? Not sure which ones are pretend and which one is copying?? Sorry if this sounds daft. Probably I’m just over thinking

OP’s posts: |
LightTripper Thu 27-Jun-19 13:55:31

That's all pretend play!

And copying is good too - so don't worry that copying doesn't somehow count. Children learn by copying!

icecreamsundae32 Sat 29-Jun-19 21:41:05

@Aaliah1234 feeding a doll and making cups of tea is exactly age appropriate role play!

My oldest son has autism, he is 10, his pretend play at 2-3 consisted of pushing a toy hoover around repetitively, and re-enacting the same scenarios over and over - his role play never differed from what I'd shown him, he had no imagination to do anything different with his toys. He was not interested in playing with small world toys like happy land. He liked Lego but only building a kit following instructions, if you gave him a box of random bits of Lego he'd just sit there! He'd race toy cars. Never interested in crafts or anything that required sitting still for a long time (he has adhd too!) Loves running, climbing, jumping anything physical! He can make eye contact and can have "normal conversations" and was always very advanced with speech and academics but struggles socially/emotionally. Was a terrible sleeper!! (Still is!) High maintenance, always needs attention.

My 8yo is not autistic he loved small world toys, brilliant imagination and role play, loves Lego from kits or builds his own stuff with random bits! Loves crafts and likes music. Very sociable, happy and placid, great sleeper.

My 20 month old so far does role play like making cups of tea, playing with a till, feeding her dolls and telling me they've done a poo so we pretend to change them lol. She does play with happy land (a bit repetitively tho!) loves crafts and builds towers with duplo. Loves music and dancing. Sociable, happy, bit high maintenance but also great sleeper!

Aaliah1234 Sat 29-Jun-19 22:38:15

Thanks @icecreamsundae32. How did he struggle socially if you don’t mind me asking. Would he play with other kids? Would he be good with adults or not? What were the red flags that was picked up on?

OP’s posts: |
icecreamsundae32 Sun 30-Jun-19 07:12:38

@Aaliah1234 he was good at chatting to adults and good with much older or younger kids. At preschool with kids his own age he didn't "get" the normal rules of the games they made up! He also took things too far/bit over the top, too heavy handed (hard to explain) and would unintentionally upset the other kids and then end up being left out. He was always really bright so spent a lot of time chatting to the teachers lol. He did a lot of puzzles and was already reading and doing multiplication/division before he started primary. He would recognise all the car badges and flags of countries etc.

At primary school he still doesn't always understand why other kids behave how they do, he tends to play football at playtime so it solves the lack of imagination issue but he's a real stickler for the rules if someone fouls or cheats, it makes him mad and he would often lash out at them! If someone "gets away" with bad behaviour but he gets caught and punished he gets so angry at the injustice! He takes everything literally so you can't have a joke with him and he's always saying kids are winding him up or following him (this is just his perception) it causes a lot of issues for him socially. He has heightened sense of hearing and smell so lunchtimes at school can be tricky, if someone is eating egg or tuna in particular he can't stand it! Any loud noises like fire alarms, cars beeping etc he hates. He also chews everything - pencils, rubbers, sleeves on his jumper, I bought him chew things for autistic kids but he won't use them in front of anyone.

He loves animals, dogs in particular. School has just got a therapy dog which he is spending a lot of time with! Hopefully one day we will have a dog but at the moment I don't have time to put in with training etc and my husband isn't fully on board even though he agrees it would benefit him.

I wish I could make his life easier and simpler!

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in