Social imagination refers to the ability to imagine what another person or persons may be feeling, thinking or experiencing. Being able to guess reasonably accurately what another person is thinking or feeling given the present context or situation is an important part of social connectedness and the ability to relate to others.
People with Asperger Syndrome may:
• Have difficulty with the 'Theory of the Mind' which is understanding that others have different thoughts, feelings, intentions and points of view from their own. This means that others can be perceived as unpredicatable and confusing
• Have difficulty with imagining alternative outcomes to different situations or predicting what will happen next, based on social rules, rather than the rules of logic
• Have difficulty understanding or interpreting others thoughts, feelings or behaviour. Social messges that are communicated through the use of subtle gesture of facial expression are often missed
• Show a limited range of imaginative activity in their play, for example, lining toys up, or collecting, organising and ordering things, rather than engaging in functional or symbolic play
It is likely that the social difficulties described above give rise to other characteristics present in people with Asperger Syndrome. A rigid adherence to particular routines, sometimes to a ritualistic extent, and resistance to change is often a feature and likely to be related to making their world less confusing and more ordered.
A rigid and inflexible thinking style is often associated with Asperger Syndrome, and this can make trying to adopt different perspective and interpretations difficult.
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