Children explore the world around them as they go through language development and learn how to communicate. If your child has autism, they’re going through this same exciting experience, although it may look slightly different.
Seeing unexpected behaviors and speech patterns in your child might alarm you, but often these symptoms are typical and even expected. That’s why it’s important to ease your concerns by learning what they are and how to work through them.
In this blog, we will be looking at the following:
- What is echolalia?
- What are the two types of echolalia?
- What triggers echolalia?
- When does echolalia stop in autism?
- At-home treatment for echolalia
- ABA therapy for echolalia
What is Echolalia?
Echolalia is the repetition of another person’s words and phrases, common in children with autism and other developmental disabilities. That said, neurotypical children can also exhibit echolalia as they learn to communicate.
An example of echolalia is a child replying with “outside” after being asked, “do you want to go outside?”
What are the Two Types of Echolalia?
There are two main types of echolalia: Immediate and delayed. Immediate echolalia refers to the repetition of words immediately after they’re spoken or after a short delay. Delayed echolalia occurs after a significant repetition delay.
What Triggers Echolalia?
When it comes to echolalia as a symptom of autism, there’s no known cause. While unusual, echolalia in adulthood can be due to head injuries or amnesia that requires relearning language skills.
In some scenarios, people with and without autism may exhibit echolalia symptoms when stressed, anxious, or under extreme pressure.
While the trigger for echolalia is unknown, it’s normal for a child with autism to have and is often associated with processing the world around them and developing communication skills.
When Does Echolalia Stop in Autism?
Echolalia, as a symptom of autism, typically stops around three years old. It’s important to note that you cannot control or prevent echolalia during the first few years of childhood. Echolalia is normal in children and isn’t something to be concerned about in those younger than three.
At-Home Treatment for Echolalia
Echolalia is a normal part of childhood, but children ages three and older should be fazing out of the symptoms. If your child continues to show the signs of echolalia, you can take steps to help them grow out of it.
- Avoid responding with sentences that encourage echolalia.
Rather than asking a question such as “Do you want a snack?” change the wording to the correct response by saying, “I’m hungry,” as you grab a snack.
- Model the correct response to your own question.
For example, ask your child, “What is a cat? An animal,” wait for your child to echo the last word, “animal,” and repeat the word to encourage the correct response.
- Use a model.
Ask another person to model the correct response with you for your child. Ask questions like “Do you want water?” while reaching for the water. Have them respond with “Yes” or another correct response. Provide positive reinforcement for the proper response to encourage your child to model after them.
- Be patient and offer opportunities.
Use “starter sentences” with your child often. For example, ask them, “I want some…” and give your child the opportunity to respond by filling in the blank. Don’t be discouraged if they fall back into echolalia habits; continue working with them and offering encouragement whenever you can.
ABA Therapy for Echolalia
Along with at-home techniques, professional programs can be highly effective in your child’s learning and behavioral progress.
We offer an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program at Roman Empire. ABA is a science-based technique that benefits individuals with autism in each area of life, including personal, social, and academic.
Our ABA service specializes in the following:
- Communication skills
- Community Training
- Functional Pre-Academics
- Functional Academics
- Home Living Skills
- Health and Safety
- Leisure Skills
- Self Care Skills
- Social Skills
- Motor Skills
- Work Skills
Roman Empire Exists to Serve
Roman Empire is a multi-faceted service agency that serves consumers with developmental disabilities. Alongside our ABA program, we offer various services, including Independent Living Skills Training, Forensic Services, SSI Assistance, and more.
Please contact us today to learn more about who we are and how to get involved.