Do People With Autism Often Have Vivid Imaginations?

Dr. Stone answers the question: 'Vivid Imaginations With Autism?'

Oct. 23, 2008 -- Question: Do people with autism often have vivid imaginations?

Answer: It's very difficult to tell how imaginative a person is. Imagination is something that is internal, it's something that's in somebody's head. The way we measure it is when we see how it's expressed behaviorally. We do know that young children with autism often do not display a great deal of creativity in their play. We think of imagination, we think of doing different things -- you're playing out roles, you're pretending different things, you change your behavior according to the situation, it's spontaneous, it's flexible. And these are not typical characteristics of children with autism especially at young ages.