The Asperger’s Disorder child will successfully manage parallel play during preschool years where she plays next to, but not with, another child. She prefers to play alone, and if other children do not interrupt her, this pattern may go unnoticed as a problem. However, many Asperger’s Disorder toddlers can be insistent on being alone and angrily tell others to go away by yelling, hitting, and tattling. This preference to play alone persists throughout childhood. Even though the Asperger’s Disorder child will complain that no one wants to play with him, he is not truly interested in playing “with” someone. He does not want to share his toys, thoughts, or feelings with his playmate.
Preschoolers love to play make-believe, using their imagination to enrich their play. Pretend play encompasses a large part of children’s play throughout elementary school. The Asperger’s Disorder child, however, is not interested in make-believe. Non-Asperger’s Disorder children have rich themes of play filled with a story whose characters interact with one another. Asperger’s Disorder children’s play looks rather dull in comparison. Toys may be organized, talked about, and moved around, but little free-flowing imagination is evident.