Camelia Crîșmariu is a psychologist with the right of free practice in the field of special psychopedagogy. She graduated the Faculty of Special Psychopedagogy within the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, at the University of Bucharest; she also has a master degree in Speech Therapy, and another one in Applied Behavior Analysis, from Clemson University, and a master degree in Psychiatry and Cognitive Psychiatry, within the Ecological University of Bucharest. She has also obtained BCaBA certification in 2020.

Camelia started practicing the applied behavioral intervention in 2009, and in 2015 she started collaborating with the Help Autism Association, where she coordinates the implementation of intervention plans for children, and supports evaluations and introductory courses in ABA therapy. Currently, she is the Coordinator of the Speech Therapy Department within Help Autism.

Although she has more than 10 years of working experience with atypical children, Camelia is currently very passionate about her job. Everything she learned about the behavior of these children made her realize how much it is to be discovered still.

Abstract of the conference presentation

Imaginary Friends of Children with ASD

Research on this level reveals that playing with imaginary friends helps children learn essential social skills, such as empathy, and helps them also to develop emotionally.

Imaginary friends are part of a normal stage in children’s development. According to a study from 2004, by the age of 7, 65% of children have an imaginary friend. Children develop these imaginary friends of theirs between 3 and 11 years old. At the moment, we don’t really know why they create these characters, or why some of them do it, and others don’t.

In studies conducted so far on this topic, researchers have validated that children with ASD also have the ability to create and play with imaginary friends. In this case, if the presence of imaginary friends in children with ASD brings the same benefits on a social level as it does in children with typical development, there is the possibility to create new ways of therapeutic approach based on imagination.