Autistic children with imaginary friends have better social skills

Imaginative, or “pretend”, play in childhood is important. It offers opportunities for social interaction as well as the chance to learn how to understand social signals and the minds of others. A common form of pretend play is the creation of an imaginary friend, and research with neurotypical children has found that children with imaginary friends tend to show better understanding of the mental and emotional states of others, greater focus on the mental states of friends, and superior communication skills.

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