What You Should Know About Echolalia

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may not only have trouble with fine motor skills, but they might even have the habit of echolalia. Echolalia is the act of copying what you've heard. Your child might copy words immediately after they hear them or they may use it later on after remembering something they previously heard.

While some children don't use echolalia to directly send a message to you, like when they're reciting lines from a video or playing alone, most use it on purpose to communicate. Here are some things you need to understand about echolalia.

1. Kids with ASD Learn Language Differently which is Why they Use Echolalia

Usually, developing kids often start learning language when they first understand and use single words and then slowly start stringing them together to make sentences and phrases.

Kids with ASD tend to follow a different route. Their initial language attempts might be longer "chunks" of language like sentences and phrases that they can't break down into smaller parts. The language chunks are more grammatically complex than they're able to put together on their own and they aren't sure what the individual words mean.

2. There are Specific Signs of Echolalia

The primary sign of echolalia is the repetition of noises and phrases your child has heard. It could be right away when they repeat something immediately they've just heard or it can be delayed where they repeat it hours or even days later after they hear it.

Other echolalia signs might include:

  • Depression
  • Frustration during conversations
  • Muteness

Your child might be unusually irritable, particularly when you ask them questions.

3. Echolalia Should Be Addressed

The habit of echolalia could interfere with learning and social interaction. So, many researchers focus on helping the individual work on a more creative type of language. A pediatric occupational therapy can often help.

When you can recognize the difference in language learning styles, define echolalia and embrace it's communicative, social and cognitive functionalities, doctors could possibly positively influence how echolalia is perceived and therefore treated. 

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