It would seem that Griffin has an imaginary friend. His name is Fred. Today I witnessed an entire argument with this imaginary friend who was holding Griffin’s arm so that he couldn’t drive his trike in a straight line.
I am ecstatic.
Let me explain. (Because I do love explaining.)
During Emma’s autism assessment, the age they were most interested in was the year between 4 and 5. They are checking for a few key things, one of these things being imagination. Did she play pretend? Did she play house? Did she like dressing up? Would she endow a doll as her baby and play Mom? And that is when I could really see that she played pretend a little, but nothing as elaborate as the pretend games I see other kids playing. And an absent or impaired ability to play pretend is one of the markers of autism.
So, now that Griffin is at that crucial age, I am anxiously looking for the things that I didn’t know I should be watching for with Emma. I mean, really, who knows what causes autism (I know theories abound, but let’s leave that for another day) but it IS known to run in families. So, today, there could not possibly be a parent who is more excited than I am to see the surfacing of an imaginary friend.
Long live Fred.
Do you have to set a place for Fred at the dinner table?
I haven’t, but maybe I should. Just as a way of encouraging things.
My kids haven’t come out with imaginary friends, but they do have elaborate imaginative play. I, too, keep a close eye on certain autism markers, because my brother is high-functioning autistic. It’s a worry that doesn’t altogether go away.