Do neurotypicals have good social imagination?

Image added on 8th of April 2022

It is said that we, autistics, lack social imagination, and I am sure that is true, unfortunately. Social imagination is not the same as regular imagination and it has nothing to do with creativity. Social imagination is the ability to predict how situations in our life are going to unfold and how people are going to react to our actions.

I am wondering however, how much better neurotypicals are at that?

I’m thinking now specifically about a certain phenomenon that I often saw in Polish couples and other family members of small children. Polish people like to say that if a child is demanding he or she will be able to easily ‘cope with life’. No one ever explains what the term ‘cope with life’ actually means – after all most people cope with life at least moderately well. They have jobs, have somewhere to live, something to wear and eat, so that already means to me that they are coping. Wouldn’t you agree? And if they have hobbies, relationships, friends and families and are able to go on holiday once a year, that’s even better. So most people are coping with life, whether they were demanding as a child or not.

Moreover, what I noticed in adults is that the biggest success is usually achieved by people who are hardworking but also diplomatic and can compromise – demanding a promotion is not going to give one to anybody.

So I’m really wondering who came up with the idea that an ability to demand another slice of cake by 4 year old is going to help them to achieve success in adulthood. And yet, I’ve heard that being repeatedly stated by neurotypical family members.

So what is the truth about social imagination in neurotypicals? Stating that autistics don’t have it makes me think that neurotypical must have loads of it. And possibly that is not true? Maybe they are just a little bit better than us?

3 responses to “Do neurotypicals have good social imagination?”

  1. I would guess there’s a wide range of variability among neurotypicals in capacity for social imagination. In terms of demandingness being encouraged in children, I wonder if that’s a cultural thing. I can’t think of any time that I was ever exposed to that kind of messaging myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Here is my thought:

    Children cannot secure or procure these resources without the help and support of their elders – at least the Deficit ones [and, yes, Maslow comes into this interpretation].

    The Being and Belonging resources. [your second set after the people moderately coping well in life].

    They are putting a stake and a claim into life and acting as active agents and subjects.

    To demand is to show that you actually want something in your life and will not seek to have it handed to you.

    And to take the initiative in relationships and the way they conduct themselves in the world.

    Of course I am thinking of a healthy and open kind of demanding.

    And the child has no reason to be afraid in a safe situation?

    I think, too, the worry is for the child who cannot be so demanding or would not be so demanding.

    A child who might be easily overshot or overawed by adults or by authority or even their peers.

    Perhaps the demanding takes on an element of compromise – having stated your case first.

    And I think there is also an element of commitment and following through – which is also a big part of success.

    There is something about „informed and predictable choice”.

    And it says a lot about the parents – that they are possibly looking for their child to have an edge and not be lost in the shuffle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are all interesting points. Possibly I took that too directly? But that’s how I see it.


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