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role play
  • This is the only thing in the criteria which doens't fit my son. When he was little he would pretend he was a power ranger or spiderman but he didn't do it to an extent of excluding other things. At nursery he would pretend he was a bus driver and set out all the chairs but it wasn't an obsessive thing. He's also occasionaly dressed up in outfits when he was little but he doesn't lose touch with reality. He's 10 now and I don't think he does role play at all. Anybody else's children like this?

    It's the only thing that confuses me about him with the criteria.
  • There seems to be quite a bit of variation, but for me, in terms of criteria (cf effective strategies) the key distinction between ASD and PDA is generally social imagination. That was what really struck us, realising that we had a child whose development was unusual and trying to work out what it was. We looked at the autism criteria first and there was no way you could say his social imaginative play was impaired. I've spent a lot of time talking over the specifics of imaginative play with other parents of 'unusual' children and the nature of their, diagnosed autistic, children's play was fundamentally different from our son's. We did however find that once professionals had latched onto ASD as a possible diagnosis they would ignore any evidence of normal imaginative play - I literally saw people turning away from his pretend play. But anyone who knew him, the quality of his imaginative play, very interactive, was one of the first things they would mention about him.

    But you'll find people here who say their own children have no imagination - and there are other children described who are locked into role play in a very tightly defined, almost scripted set of roles (which would still fit the 'impaired' criterion for ASD) (I think all children with PDA will use their social imaginative talents for demand avoidance, especially if that is what works in their environment)
  • mango69
    Posts: 967
    For us, our sons imagination was lacking early on in that given a piece of paper and told to write or draw something, he was completely unable to come up with something original to him. He also never acted out home role play situations much like cooking or cleaning (which my neurotypical son does all the time) This is still the case. But he can act out either bits of DVD's or create his own scenes as different characters or speak in the voice of a character and come out with a lot of characters quotes and often in context. He has never role played to the extent of believing he is that character and I would say the role play criteria for him perhaps is not as pronounced as other pda children but I think its a criterion because it is often so pronounced in these children who are sometimes otherwise diagnosed as some sort of ASD (although not always) and it stands out as not fitting the ASD criteria. He does use it as a demand avoidance tactic though and sometimes I use it to get something I need doing done. Imagination means so many different things though. Being able to imagine what others are thinking /feeling, imagining what would happen in certain situations, not just imagining role play so many of our children I think do lack imagination in some areas but seem to go overboard in others.
    Margo
  • Already an example of how widely differing children with what one would presume is a fairly solid PDA diagnosis can be - my son definitely did show great originality, lots of normal role play, the usual domestic stuff (his language disorder meant that we were probably not able to access the full internal richness of it because for quite a while his expressive language was limited) - and not stuff effectively repeated from things seen on TV. I found it quite insulting that some professionals ignored the fact that my own professional background was precisely in this business of children's play and given that I wasn't in denial that *something* was developmentally amiss with my child, I might be competent to tell the difference.

    I have to say that some of the obsession with particular topics and 'unimaginative' (ie copied) role play has developed - in that respect it would no longer be so crystal clear that it is not a conventional ASD - but he is now nine and at nine that's pretty normal for a boy - he's not even an extreme end of normal in that respect. And his teacher for the last two years said that he had better empathy than most of his year.
  • lol it's weird that you mention the empathy dirtmother because many of my son's teachers in his school also say he shows alot of empathy towards other children and adults yet if I am upset he has no empathy at all, could it be because I frustrate him if I show my emotions?
  • Amanda
    Posts: 281

    But he can act out either bits of DVD's or create his own scenes as different characters or speak in the voice of a character and come out with a lot of characters quotes and often in context. He has never role played to the extent of believing he is that character



    Yes thats how it was and is with Mark too.
  • Lixina
    Posts: 289

    angel child said:

    lol it's weird that you mention the empathy dirtmother because many of my son's teachers in his school also say he shows alot of empathy towards other children and adults yet if I am upset he has no empathy at all, could it be because I frustrate him if I show my emotions?



    For me when my mother is upset (particularly if it's because of my behavior) I feel a lot of empathy but can't show it because I'm too scared. I feel like it's showing weakness and then she'll win and that will be unspecifiably terrible.
  • Lixina
    Posts: 289

    angel child said:

    lol it's weird that you mention the empathy dirtmother because many of my son's teachers in his school also say he shows alot of empathy towards other children and adults yet if I am upset he has no empathy at all, could it be because I frustrate him if I show my emotions?



    For me when my mother is upset (particularly if it's because of my behavior) I feel a lot of empathy but can't show it because I'm too scared. I feel like it's showing weakness and then she'll win and that will be unspecifiably terrible.
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