Echolalia is a repetitive speech behaviour, where words or sounds from another source (like a video, song or previous conversation) are echoed back.
You might see it incorrectly referred to as ‘purposeless repetition’, but it most definitely has a purpose... you just have to figure out what it is.
Just like pronoun reversal, echolalia is actually a typical part of speech development. Most kids do it at some point, they just do it at a younger age or for not quite as long. Autistic kids sometimes have excellent memories and a keen ability to learn things by rote, which is probably one of the reasons they can become really good at it.
There are two types of echolalia - immediate (repeating something that was just heard) and delayed (repeating something that was heard some time ago) - and the functions of each vary across individuals and often overlap. So let's take a look at what some of those might be.
Note: I'm talking about echolalia in autistic kids here, but of course it's not a behaviour that's unique to just kids or autism.
FUNCTIONS OF ECHOLALIA
Filling in the gaps
Recognition and memories
The bottom line
Image from Flickr user ArloMagicMan
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