Imagining Autism

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Access Online Resources

Imagining Autism Online Resources has two components:

FILM (19 minutes) This should be watched before attempting the Activities. It explains the Imagining Autism approach using flexible play-based methods appropriate for a wide range of participants across the autistic spectrum. The film tells you how to create an imaginary safe space for the Activities. The film was made originally as a DVD to accompany a limited edition “PopPupPod” box with printed activity cards and its own pop up puppet; we have adapted materials for this online version. The activities can be done in the home or classroom and do not require the box itself.

ACTIVITIES These are suggestions for imaginative play in different settings. You create the setting yourselves (with the young person if appropriate) and it can be as simple or sophisticated as time and resources allow. You do need however to set some time aside for these special activities, and do some preparation.

Choice of 5 spaces (select the environment most appropriate to the young person’s interests or ask them to choose)

  • Outer Space
  • Forest
  • Under City
  • Underwater
  • Arctic

Choice of 3 sets of activities

  • Puppetry
  • Play
  • Senses

Choice of 3 sectors of activity identified by shapes.

○ Reactive: listening and responding to a creative stimulus, engaging attention and sustaining interest (focus is the key).

□ Interactive: engaging with others in creative activities, dialogues through participatory play (following cues and imitation is key).

∆ Proactive: making creative material (causing, creating and controlling), developing agency and authorship (improvisation is key).

Choice of spaces and sets may be determined by your child’s age, interests or resources available. Sectors may be determined by your child’s abilities, but do try moving between them. You may be surprised!


If appropriate, the activities can involve a puppet, character or toy. Soft toys can work just as well as puppets. See our short film ‘How to use a Puppet’ which will shortly be uploaded.  It is also possible to adapt the activities to work without puppets (see Play and Senses), using characters or objects associated with your child’s interests. This object based approach is one of the keys to the iA method; it facilitates active learning through deep play and helps the participant to become creatively engaged as co-producers. They quickly lead the process and the teacher and parents become facilitators, following their cues.