Does Echolalia = Autism spectrum? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-11-2008, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 3 and often repeats what others say. I didn't really pay much attention to it until recently when DS started doing the same thing. My mom said "oh another parrot". For instance if DD is asked a question by someone other than me or DH she will repeat the question. She rarely says yes but will say no. If you ask her if she would like a peach she says - like a peach.
If someone says, "that's a pretty purple dress" she will say "that's a pretty purple dress".
The other day we went swimming with some friends and DD was being held in the water by my friend. DD repeated everything she said. My friend commented on this "she's repeating everything I'm saying". She thought it was cute and it is but then I started wondering about this because it is not the first time that someone has mentioned it and I have noticed it.
DD is also very comfortable (almost too comfortable I think) around adults but not around other children her age.
She has an extensive vocabulary and is extremely sensitive and intelligent and seems precocious beyond her years.
Wondering if the echolalia is an indication of something we should look into.
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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Echolalia is typical behaviour.... to a point. Can it be a sign of a child with autism? Sure. But echolalia doesn't mean a child has autism. Most children go through a period of echolalia, it's part of the development of speech. Does she ALWAYS repeat things, or does she speak sometimes and repeat other times? Are you seeing any other signs of autism?

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Old 08-11-2008, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
Echolalia is typical behaviour.... to a point. Can it be a sign of a child with autism? Sure. But echolalia doesn't mean a child has autism. Most children go through a period of echolalia, it's part of the development of speech. Does she ALWAYS repeat things, or does she speak sometimes and repeat other times? Are you seeing any other signs of autism?
She does speak a lot with DH, DS and I but whenever she is around people that she is unfamiliar with she will repeat everything they say back to them and she will use their tone of speech too. There are other things that made me wonder about autism - like her rigidity to schedules and routines. She used to line up objects down the hallway. She still does this with her dolls. She will line them all up in a row in her crib. She strongly resists change and is extremely sensitive to noise, textures and tastes. (I don't know if that is typical of autism or not).
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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Typical kids do go through echolalia as part of their language development. To be honest, though, the repeating the question word for word and not responding with yes and repeating tone sound a lot more spectrumy than typical.

It took my spectrum child forever to answer with yes.

If at home you say "do you want a peach or broccoli" how does she answer? If she says the question word for word back to you without answering which she wants and never says she wants one or the other I'd be thinking this is outside of the range of typical for a three year old. At three she should be able to have a simple back and forth conversation with you. If she's doing this only with strangers I wouldn't worry.

Since you said you wonder about some other aspects too here is a little assessment. It can give an idea of whether a child might be on the spectrum but of course can only tell you to look closer/isn't definite. http://www.childbrain.com/pddassess.html

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Old 08-11-2008, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post
Typical kids do go through echolalia as part of their language development. To be honest, though, the repeating the question word for word and not responding with yes and repeating tone sound a lot more spectrumy than typical.

It took my spectrum child forever to answer with yes.

If at home you say "do you want a peach or broccoli" how does she answer? If she says the question word for word back to you without answering which she wants and never says she wants one or the other I'd be thinking this is outside of the range of typical for a three year old. At three she should be able to have a simple back and forth conversation with you. If she's doing this only with strangers I wouldn't worry.

Since you said you wonder about some other aspects too here is a little assessment. It can give an idea of whether a child might be on the spectrum but of course can only tell you to look closer/isn't definite. http://www.childbrain.com/pddassess.html
Hi - thank you for your response and for the link.
To answer your question about asking DD if she would like a peach or broccoli- I think she would respond with one or the other (probably a peach) to me or DH. We try to limit her choices though because it has caused challenging behaviour (intense tantrums) when she has too many choices. I do know that she would probably repeat this sentence if my mom or someone else were to ask her about a choice. My mom has asked 'do you want lemonade or apple juice?' and she will say, 'lemonade or apple juice?'.

She never says yes. I try to phrase questions where she could answer yes but she will confirm that she wants something by repeating part of the question. I have said "yes or no?" and she won't answer.

I will check out that assessment and see what it says.
Thanks again.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:20 PM
 
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My kids love echolalia.

Ds, 3, is typical for the most part. He has some articulation problems left over from hearing loss before tubes. He also has a lot of quirky language uses, like echolalia, that he copies from his sister.

Dd, 6, is not on the spectrum by most accounts. She does however have a lot of problems with communication and language likely due to dyspraxia and/or processing disorders. She still uses echolalia, but less so than a year ago when it was nearly constant. Last year, she would not answer questions, but just repeat what I said tone and word. As her language has improved, she uses it less. One thing the doctors looked at while evaluating her and determining if she was on the spectrum was if she used echolalia with a purpose. She would repeat phrases as stock answers to questions, but a large portion of the time, the phrases were in context. This was more of an indication that she just had trouble retrieving the words, so she used lines she'd memorized instead.

Anyway, there are a lot of reasons for echolalia. It is a normal part of language learning. A child with problems learning language will use echolalia later than a completely typical child. That alone isn't reason to think a child is on the spectrum. However, it is a common trait of children on the spectrum.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:14 AM
 
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Is there an age-range for "normal" for echolalia (love that word, LOL)? My nearly 6 yr old does this, like he zones out and then repeats whatever I say to him without it fully processing. He's been doing it for years.
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