Hi, I'm still new to Mothering.com and hoping you ladies can give me a dose of sanity (or a reality check, whatever you prefer) :) My daughter is 22 months and extremely bright. There is something going on with regard to her language though, that I have been wondering if it's normal. I should start by saying I am not concerned about her *lack* of speaking. She has hundreds of words and is speaking in short sentences, although longer ones have emerged over the past few weeks that are far more complex. A few weeks before the longer sentences started, I did notice that she was developing some echolalia in her speech sometimes. It seemed to get pretty intense a couple weeks ago and has been ebbing since then, and I did notice her novel sentences are so much more complex all the sudden, so I wonder if that has something to do with it. I'm not super concerned with the immediate echolalia-- because she answers questions all the time, shows ability to process language and initiate novel speech to ask for things, engage, etc.-- but something happened around the same time that has me more worried. Basically, she has started repeating a couple lines from songs and books, over and over again, throughout the day... even if we haven't read the book in a couple days or heard the song in a while. She seems to do it when she's talking to herself (she plays with her dolls and sings, talks, etc to them, makes them talk, etc). and she does it in the car seat too.
To give a couple examples, there's a book she loves where the character keeps saying "I'm not sleepy" even though he is (the author and creator of the Spot series should be a celebrity in our home, I swear.) I heard her saying that to her dolls just yesterday afternoon, even though we haven't read the book in a few days. She said it a few times, and again this morning. I can't tell if she's "acting out a scene" with them or what (she does have quite an imagination!) but I thought it was strange. She was making them lay down, and this morning, she was laying on the floor when she said it, so maybe this is just her way of making an association? Another example: yesterday and this morning, we came home in the car and she loudly said, "Daddy mowing! He DID mow."... which is what had happened the day before when we'd come home (the day before, she'd said that and I'd told her he did mow and was finished.) Daddy was NOT mowing when she said this, in fact daddy wasn’t even home either time. Or, she will sing this one song she loves, at least a few times a day, even if we haven't heard it in a while, and she'll do it throughout the day. Yo Gabba Gabba’s theme song is a personal favorite, although we don’t watch TV that often at all.
I am wondering if this can be considered delayed echolalia? From everything I’ve read and heard, that’s not considered a “normal” part of language development and could be considered an autism flag. I am hypervigilant, even neurotic, about this type of thing sometimes, so I am trying not to get too spun up, but I am definitely concerned. On the other hand, I am somewhat hard pressed to believe that some kids don’t just do this. I mean, don’t we as adults get songs in our heads, or little jingles, or whatever? On the other, I don’t want to dismiss behaviors either. Very torn.
As for the rest of her behavior, she is super engaged with me, her dad and her caregiver, great eye contact, good pretend play, plays appropriately with toys, no tantrums, etc. She is pretty reserved around other kids her age though although she has a close friend she plays with every day who is 2 months older, and they get on great. I’ve seen her ignore certain kids completely (very grabby or bossy kids, or physically aggressive ones, she wants nothing to do with) but she will observe other kids she doesn’t know well rather than get in the action and play with them.
What do you guys think? Am I going nuts over nothing? I’m particularly curious if any of you had your kids do this and it was just a normal phase. I really have no idea what’s “normal” these days… seems like everything is a flag for something L