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Social Interaction With Autistic Child

What is autism?

The term ‘autism’ is come from word ‘autos’ which mean ‘self’. However, ‘-isme’ means a flow. Autism is referring to someone who is living in their own world. It affects 3 components which are social, communication and behaviour.

Thus, child with autism are having difficulties in:

Speech & Language

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Play skills

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Source: focalpoint.asia

What are the language and communication difficulties in children with autism?

Most of the child with autism having speech and language delay compared to the same age peers. Each children with autism are having different level of speech and language development based on the severity (mild to severe) of the autistic characteristics.

Speech and language problems in autistic child are:

  • Unable to talk/non-verbal
  • Produce sound only such as vocalizing /a/ or screaming
  • Can speak but produce unintelligible speech (jargon)

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However, autistic child who can speak (verbal) will have language problem such as:

  • Produce non-meaningful word or jargon
  • Unable to socialize because of poor attention and eye contact
  • Able to talk/convey message for some of the times
  • Produce word or sentence but not appropriate to the questions or context of the conversation
  • Can imitate or singing without understand the meaning
  • Echolalia which is repeating the words that had been produce by others.


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Most of the autistic child unable to initiate and respond in conversation due to:

  • Poor attention
  • Poor eye contact
  • Poor communication intent
  • Play alone

Thus, autistic child had limited communication development.

What are the tips to communicate with autistic child?

Here are some tips to communicate with autistic child:

  1. Simple and clear instructions
    • Give simple and clear instructions
    • Call her/his name
      Example: “Jack, sit here.” instead of “Can you please come here and have a sit.”
    • Use gesture and body language when needed.

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  2. Routine
    • Routine/repeat your child’s favourite activities. Autism child likes routine work.
    • Use picture schedule to help autistic child to do the routine visually.

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  3. Play, play, play!!!

    Source: www.philips.com.my

    • Identify and create your child’s favourite game/situation such as ball, bubble, music, water, sand, jump and others.
    • While playing with your child, you need to:
      • Face-to-face with your child
      • Imitate your child’s actions, sounds, and speech production
      • Wait and observe when your child is trying to communicate (body language, non-meaningful sound, facial expression)
      • Respond to your child’s communication intent.
      • Comment upon child’s action (give language stimulation)
      • Use variety of intonation to attract your child’s attention.
  4. Consistant praise and reinforcement system

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    • Consistantly praise or reinforcement (reward) to your child positive behaviors/ actions.
    • Negative reinforcement or “time-out” upon your child unwanted behaviors/ actions (Eg: throwing things, tantrum, crying, etc)
  5. Augmentative and Alternative Communication
    • About 25% of autism child are non-verbal, however, by implementation of different communication mode, it’s able to help them to communicate with others.
    • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) usually will be introduced to those non- verbal child.
    • This communication modes will enhance the child communication skills as it help them to convey the correct message and to be understood by others.

      Source: www.dpisd.org

Where can you find the treatment?

Please seek for further help or consultations from your family doctors at nearest hospital or clinic if your child showed with some of the characteristic listed above.

Several professional/ team will be involved and help your child during the rehabilitation process.

  1. Pediatrician
  2. Child Psychiatrist
  3. Psychologist
  4. Speech-Language Therapist
  5. Audiologist
  6. Occupational Therapist


  1. A. Manolson. 1992. It Takes Two to Talk. The Hanen Centre. National Library of Canada.
  2. K.A. Razhiyah. 2008. Apa itu autisme? PTS Professional Publishing Sdn. Bhd.: Kuala Lumpur
  3. R.Sumardi. Autisma: Adakah Anak Saya Boleh Normal? Peroleh dari  www.myhealth.gov.my/index.php/my/bayikanak-kanak/tumbesaran-a-perkembangan/autisma-adakah-anak-saya-boleh-normal pada 1/9/2015
  4. W.N Wan Abdullah & H. Ahmad. 2013. Aku Bersyukur Anakku Autisme. Telaga Biru Sdn. Bhd.: Kuala Lumpur
Last Reviewed : 10 March 2016
Writer / Translator : Nurbaiti bt. Mohamad Adli
Accreditor : Fairus bt. Mukhtar