Understanding Nonverbal Expression of a Child with Autism

There are different types of children with autism; verbal, nonverbal, physically challenged and so on. Their way of expression is also different. Sometimes, if they cannot express their mind to anybody, they show it in the form of anger, shouting, screaming, throwing tantrum etc. If we can understand them properly, then it is somehow easier to manage him/her. That is why the doctors and therapists always tell that we need to understand autism and then to understand our child properly. So, understanding the nonverbal expression of a child with autism is prime importance.

“Autism: I may not speak with my mouth. There are many ways to communicate. They are all valid.” –― Tina J. Richardson

Today, I would like to narrate the requirement of understanding your child with reference to an excellent incident of our nonverbal autistic boy. In this article, I would like to narrate the reason of tantrum of our nonverbal autistic boy and a lesson learned.

Nonverbal Mahi and his tantrum

Today, we went outside for a job along with our autistic boy, Mahi. While coming back to home, his mother proposed to visit my cousin’s house on the way. I told her that it was not possible to go to that house at the night time as the road in front of his house was damaged. So, we decided to go to that home on the next afternoon.

My autistic boy Mahi did not like it. He had a mind to go to that home. After coming back to our home, he started screaming, shouting, and shaking the computer in such a manner that it would be broken. But I could not understand the reason of it. He generally, like to visit outside and we have just come back from outside. Then why he was doing such. I could not understand the reason behind such behavior. I was trying to cold-shoulder him.

Interestingly, his mother could understand the reason of his screaming. She called Mahi and told him that we would go to his uncle’s house the next day afternoon. She also narrated the reason of not going there. At the same time, she also made me understand the reason for his tantrum.

Mahi knows that if he would go there he could have nice snacks. It is the practice that his aunt offers him very good snacks when we visit the house. When we decided not to go there, he could understand that he missed the snacks. As he always likes the good food, he did not like to miss it. But he had no idea how to express it. So, he started screaming, shouting, throwing tantrum and shaking the computer. He was unable to make us understand his unhappiness. So he was trying to attract our attention. When he understood that his mother has understood the reason of his frustration, he became calm down.

One should not misunderstand that he is not given good food. He always likes to take good food either at home or outside. Many a time, we try not to feed him rich food as he is gaining weight. But he likes good food.


It is so unfortunate that the autistic children cannot express their want and thereby show their tantrum. So, the first thing we have to understand our child and his want. If we can understand what he actually wants then 50% problem is solved. It will be easier to manage his tantrum and any other odd behavior.

So, let us try our best to know different characteristics of autism and understand the different behavior of our children. Then we should try to avoid the sequences which cause his tantrum and odd behavior. It will help us to manage his/her tantrum. At the same time, we should encourage him to express his mind and the good consequences of it.