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Kids with Autism typically struggle with pretend or imaginative play. Shortly after his second birthday, Drake began to show interest in imaginative play. He started pretending to eat things, pretending blocks were animals or trains, and making his trains say hello to each other. As with all things to do with Drake, I find that if I provide the environment and opportunities to encourage Drake in a certain direction, and if I wait long enough, he rises to the occasion. There’s no pushing it, just gentle encouragement. His pretend play is still simplistic, but we have a base to work from, and I am optimistic.
If your child struggles or doesn’t enjoy pretending, you will need to be hands on with these toys, showing them their options for pretend and enticing them by making it fun. I keep the pretending varied and unpredictable. I don’t try to teach Drake a certain way to use the toy because he tends to get locked into that one way, which really isn’t true pretend play. It only looks like pretend play.
On a final note, I have to say that despite what experts say about pretend play in kids with Autism, I have a sneaking suspicion that kids with Autism have rich imaginations. They just don’t share them with us in the ways we expect. We have to learn how they are expressing them to us.
Welcome to the family!
We are a laid back, fun, family of four living on a dime in 900 square feet. Life might not be perfect, but every moment of every day, it is beautiful.