Just My Imagination

This post is now available in the ‘Life with an Autistic Son’ ebook available to download from Amazon.

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15 Responses to Just My Imagination

  1. thebear says:

    Do you know something your posts hit the mark every time. I have often wondered about this too as in my eyes small boy uses his imagination every day . However when i think about it its not in the social way. Btw ,when small boy was having his autism assessment the consultant set up a scenario with a few wooden toy people and made one fall down a ladder. Small boy ignored the little injured wooden person’s cries for help completely and proceeded to take great pleasure in enhancing his injuries somewhat by reversing over him twice with the toy ambulance provided.Its worth adding that there was lots of jottings made at this point. Lol .

  2. seventhvoice says:

    What a great post and yes, once again you have hit the nail right on the head. Our children do not lack imagination. Nor do they lack empathy as is so commonly perceived. I read ‘Look me in the eye’ a few years ago now and I loved it. To me Robison’s way of explaining his life made perfect sense. And like you, I have often watched my son while his been enraptured by simple things, like sunlight reflecting on a window, and thought, how lovely it would be to be able feel that same degree of delight in the simplest of things.

  3. 2all says:

    I have two sons on the spectrum and this almost perfectly describes the struggle I have to explain their behaviour to other people. I am probably also on the spectrum but all three of us have different ‘ways’ with social imagination. I am desperate not to get it wrong, it actually causes me great distress and I apologise frequently for things I haven’t even done! My empathy level is off the scale and I put everyone else above me. My older son has absolutely no empathy, no understanding of how his actions impact others and his sole focus is himself. In the summer he shoots water guns at the local kids then goes bananas when they do the same to him. In the winter he throws snowballs but turns murderous if any are thrown at him. It’s so hard for other kids to understand, is it any wonder he has no friends? My younger son enjoys a luckier scenario as he has a very sociable twin brother who reels in friends and keeps them there for both of them. This is something he does naturally and I hope it will mean that my youngest doesn’t end up socially ostracised like his older brother.
    From our experience there is no ‘one size fits all’ with ASD, I like to think of it as a buffet where everyone gets different things on their plate in different quantities but we’re all at the same function!

  4. Lisa Johnson says:

    Yes, I also struggled with the misconception that ASD means lack of imagination. My girl can pretend she’s a mermaid, dress-up and “talk like one” but she has not the social imagination to predict people’s reactions if she turned up to a birthday party dressed and acting like one.

    It’s funny that you also mentioned several similarities between our children that I described a few years ago to a child psychologist as early concerns about E.

    She used to ask strangers to fix her hair and take her to the toilet (which could be frightening if you lost sight of her at Pontins only to find that some random had taken her there.) She would talk about Princess Peach to any passer-by assuming that they also knew everything about her. She was also “famous” at school but at the same time curiously friendless. I was virtually laughed out of the psychologist’s office with the suggestion that I need a referral myself and it was obviously my fear of her embarrassing me that was the problem. He also seemed to be suggesting that i had looked-up the symptoms of Autism and was applying them in some Munchausen’s way to my daughter, whom along with myself, had barely been near a doctors office in years. It still shocks me to think that a parent’s concerns for their child could be dismissed in such a cack-handed manner by a mental health professional.

    She no longer does these things as fortunately it was possible to utilise her reluctance to go against rules (do not approach strangers only “safe strangers” etc.) now she will still “talk at” people somewhat but its more with shop assistants and lollipop ladies now.

    The biggest concern I think we all have as parents is the point when these traits/differences stop being endearing and “cute” to people and therefore less accepted or god-forbid cause them to become a target. This has been happening for us recently and
    it is scary for many reasons one of them being that they themselves start to become aware of people being mean but not knowing why or how to handle it. I will do all I can to teach her to be proud of who she is because I never want her to start to hate herself which I can see happening as she gets older. I know i won’t be able to protect her from everything but if I help her to accept and be proud of her differences others a surely more likely to accept her too.

    • B's Dad says:

      I find the future a scary place for similar reasons. Like you, I hope I will be able to instill self esteem in my boy. It sounds like you and your daughter are making good progress. Long may it continue this way x

  5. Amanda says:

    Thanks for putting the link to my blog! (I didn’t realise it was mentioned elsewhere on Mumsnet).
    So much of what we learn from aspergers is learned on the hoof, because we’re all different in so many ways. I really dislike generalised statements about aspies and what they can and can’t do! As I’m sure lots of other parents do too.
    As an aspie myself, I’ve come to a new understanding of this difficulty with social imagination and am glad it’s struck a chord with people. Having said that, it would be so nice sometimes to flick a switch and know what to do! X

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  7. Jo Curphey says:

    I’ve just discovered your blog and really, really enjoyed reading this post and all the other replies. Your description of B sounds so much like our 13 yr old son J who is funny, charming and lovable, vulnerable and naive, intelligent and creative – as well as incredibly infuriating and totally ego-centric.

    The reference to ‘brutal honesty’ reminded me of recently when my husband tried to have a ‘serious talk’ about an ‘incident’ at school when J prodded a TA in her chest area to get her attention. My husband tried to explain why the TA might not have liked him touching her like that but sensed that his talk was not making much of an impression as J appeared to be far more interested in playing with his Dr Who figures. My husband (a bit irritated) said to J in a sarcastic tone (completely wasted on him might I add) “Am I boring you?” To which J replied; “Yes, a bit”.

  8. caleb72 says:

    My youngest Son Oliver was diagnosed with Autism on 1st October so this is all still very new to our little family. Later that week, my Mother passed away so i’m not going to forget that week anytime soon I can tell you!

    So much of what you describe in all of your posts really resonates with us though. My wife often says that you could be describing us, only three years into the future. Of course we have no way of knowing where we will be that far down the line, but your experiences with B often strike a chord with us, and we can usually find a similar example of how Oliver’s behaviour in social situations can be inappropriate. It is endearing to strangers right now as he is 2 and cute, so he gets away with it, but will the same be true when he is 8 or 10 and he goes up to a complete stranger and tries to cuddle them?

    His imagination is certainly there though, I have no doubt of that, and all of his therapists have quickly concluded that he is a clever little boy, very capable of manipulating events to suit his needs. Social imagination as you say is a very different thing however and we most certainly need to try and help him with this.

    Thanks for posting. We will continue to read that’s for sure!

  9. greeneyesmom says:

    I ran across your blog and have read with much attention. I do not have a child with Autism…..to my knowledge, and I say this because now that my kids are 28-26-25 I sometimes wonder. They had struggles with anxiousness and inability to cope in stressful situations, which caused them much pain…along with many other difficulties that has made, their lives harder. I am in no way comparing to your struggle and I will pray for daily life to level out for your son. I just wonder at times that I may have missed something along the way with them. The symptoms I read are very familiar, maybe there are less levels that they have had, I dont know really…I just know that they still struggle with anxiety and throw in an awful drug use to deaden the pain……This has nearly killed us…..but I enjoy reading, enjoy may not be the right word…..appreciate might be better. Thinking good thoughts for you all….preacherswifeintheknow

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