According to an article from the June 2012 issue of Parent magazine, simple imitation exercises can help young children with autism boost their social skills, found a recent Journal of Autism and Development Disorder study. After a series of treatments using the technique, kids made significant improvement in bringing their parent's attention to an object through gestures and eye contact. If your child has autism, try this at least a few times a day.
Pull out similar toys for both to play with, such as two stuffed animals or a couple of trains.
Watch your child's sounds and movements, and copy them. If she/he makes her stuffed animal jump in the air, let yours do the same. Continue this for one or two minutes.
Switch roles and model something new to do with the toy, such as running the train up your leg. Repeat this three times to encourage your child to imitate you. If she/he does follow your movements, praise the child and return to copying their actions. If not, gently guide the child through the imitation.