My son (3.5) has a diagnosis of classic autism and is believed to be hyperlexic as well. He is verbal, but the quality of his language is sometimes poor. He seems to have most responses memorized and uses them appropriately in some situations. Lately he has been exhibiting some behaviors that I never thought I'd see in a child with autism. He participates in absolutely no pretend play, yet lately seems to have developed "imaginary friends," I suppose that would be the best way to describe them. I honestly thought that this was impossible!
So I'm curious if any of your children (or children you know) with ASD have imaginary friends as well, and how they act, what they do.. etc.
My son has just started talking about "Charlie" lately and it honestly kinda freaks us out. One day he just told us that "Charlie" was in his room playing with his car. He'll also say that "Charlie" goes to the fridge and gets food, "Charlie" doesn't want to do that, etc. We will see him staring down the hall and ask what he sees and he'll say "Charlie doesn't want to play anymore". He does his fair share of staring off into space and seems to be looking at stuff, but I've always chalked this up to his ASD. It's very easy to grab his attention and get him back on track if he starts to zone out. There are a few other things he's done lately like talking about pictures of him and his other brother and how they're scary, or that he doesn't want to go near them. All of this started around the same time as "Charlie."
A few people in our family who've witnessed this say it's not your "typical imaginary friend" and that we should have him checked to make sure he's not been misdiagnosed with ASD- and are thinking childhood schizophrenia. I, on the other hand, feel that you can't compare him to a "typical" child and typical behaviors because he's on the spectrum... of course he is going to play or whatnot differently. My family members who think this find it odd that he refers to himself by name rather than appropriately. Again, very stereotypical of autism. For example, he'll point at a picture and say "That's N!" instead of "That's me!" When we ask him questions about "Charlie" he can't really answer them because of the quality of his language. I'm hoping for some reassurance and other families with children on the spectrum who have children with imaginary friends.
Edited by mamanoish - 10/30/11 at 5:20am