Friday, December 24, 2010

Lack Of Pretend Play In Autism

For neurotypical children, pretend play is an important part of cognitive development. Thus, when autistic children "fail" to pretend that a doll or action figure is speaking, or when they "fail" to assign specific roles in pretend scenarios, such as "I'm the policeman and you're the robber," neurotypical adults notice the different.

However, from my own Asperger-tinted experiences, this is not failure to map imaginary onto real. The Transformer toy I'm playing with is not alive, and is not the "real" Optimus Prime. I can not lie about reality, even fictional realities, in that way.

Give me a hand puppet, however, and I'll gladly come up with a voice, personality, and facial expressions for it, because this is the "real" puppet, not a toy of it.