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Imaginative Play

Autistic children can’t or don’t take part in pretend or imaginary play. Instead they tend to have obsessions and will do the same thing over and over again.

Often these appear strange,  like looking at their fingers, flapping, jumping up and down, tapping surfaces, spinning objects and staring at them, twiddling string.

These are referred to as “isms” and are self-stimulating behaviours which act as some sort of comforters.

The world is a very strange and confusing place for autists but they have control over their “isms”. Doing and saying the same things over and over again makes them feel safer as they have control over what will happen next. That is why many autistic children are happy to watch videos over and over and over and over and ....

New experiences are frightening to autists and you have to prepare them for any changes. They tend to have a rigid (fixed) way of thinking and doing things.


They like routines and patterns. It brings order to the chaotic world in which they live.