Playing as an autistic child?

I’m reading “Pretending to be Normal” by Liane Holliday Willey, and some other books about autism, and even though I recognize a lot from my own experiences there’s one thing that’s confusing me. It’s about my ability to play.

From what I remember, I could play with friends when I was a child. Most of the times playing with dolls was more about making our own clothes and organizing different outfits for Barbie dolls, but sometimes I think we actually played in the sense “pretending that they were doing different activities”. From what I remember, we had a genuinely mutual interaction. Autistic kids are not supposed to be able to do this, according to a lot of the litterature. Does this mean that I can’t be autistic? Or are my memories totally wrong?

I preferred playing with one friend at a time. Sometimes I really wanted to play with friends but I also remember preferring to playing alone. The older I got, the more tiring it was to play with a friend. I remember many times when I preferred being on my own and sewing new clothes for my Barbie dolls, trying to imitate outfits from different movies.

When I look back at my childhood friends (the ones I had until I was around 10) I realize that most of them were a lot like me. We were a bit awkward and didn’t give in to peer pressure. One of them, who I’ve recently connected with on Facebook, describes herself as an introvert book lover who prefers silence and not to be spontaneous too often. I’m wondering if I didn’t perceive myself as more than a little awkward because I had friends who were like me. This is probably also the reason for why my parents and teachers thought I was social. The big question is: Did my social skills work kind of well because I could easily relate to my friends because they were like me? Was that the reason for why I thought most of the other kids in my class were weird?

It comes back to what I wrote a few days ago, that difficulties with theory of mind are strongly affected by if another person is autistic or not. Maybe it’s possible that my memories are right and that I’m autistic.


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