At a young age, typically developing children learn the concept of representation, wherein one object is used as a place holder for another. Representation is an essential building block of pretend play that children with autism often fail to grasp. Pretend play is also an important form of social interaction for children that incorporates cognitive skills, social thinking, creativity and flexibility, all of which may be delayed in a child with autism. In this segment, Dr. Soorya contrasts examples of both a typically developing child and a child with autism; pretending to throw a birthday party to demonstrate the differences between the two childen.
"Pretend play is a building block for social development and social communication. "
— Latha Soorya, PhD