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REPETITION AND ROUTINE
(SOCIAL IMAGINATION)


Imagination helps us to understand the world and predict and see things
from other people’s points of view. Many children with autism are unable
to do this to any great extent.


Differences in social imagination show in a variety of ways. When a child
with autism plays with a toy car, he may just focus on moving it to and fro
repeatedly, while other children may be imagining their cars in more
complex stories. It doesn’t mean that children with autism do not
have imagination, but rather it is developed in different ways to
other children.


Differences with social imagination can make the world a very uncertain
place for children with autism. Therefore, in order to reduce anxiety, often
many prefer to have order and routine.


HERE ARE SOME COMMON EXAMPLES OF
DIFFERENCES WITH SOCIAL IMAGINATION:

  • Some may become distressed if a familiar routine is changed.
  • Some may need to know when an activity will finish and then will expect it to finish at the exact time specified.
  • Some may develop rituals and repetitive behaviour e.g. insisting on sitting in the same chair, watching the same DVD over and over.
  • Some may become distressed by unfamiliar events, people or
    unexpected changes, e.g. the teacher changing her hair colour!
  • Some may find it hard to work out what other people are going
    to do or what their intentions are.
  • Some may not understand or connect the consequences that their own actions have for other people.e.g. taking a new route to school.
  • Some may resist any new experience because not knowing what to expect is just too scary, e.g. refusing to come and say hello to a visiting adult.


 

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