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Echolaliac 3 year old please advise

(29 Posts)
Chocolatdreams Wed 27-Jan-16 18:31:54

Hello

My 3 year old ds hardly speaks. He uses 1 word for most things and is very Echolaliac whereas he says sentences from books and TV shows. He also has a few lines from previous things I have said myself. He knows tons of words and can labels things and knows their names and if I tell him the name of something he needs to ask for then he will know that word from then on too.

He asks for stuff by posing the question I would ask him. So he would say "want some water?". He can ask for whatever he wants but this is how he does it! I have been trying to change asking him to "I want ........". He now does this sometimes but hardly ever but something tells me it is just a learned phrase he doesn't really understand the "I" part.

I really don't have a clue what I need to do. He has asd traits and I am so so worried.I've been reading all your threads and you guys are so amazing but I am lost with all the abbreviations and what steps I need to take.

When I take ds to soft play and other outings I feel so lonely and end up crying on the way home as he seems so behind. I know crying won't help. I've been trying to get him a private speech and language therapist and it's been proving a bit hard as I am new to the area and don't have any recommendations and worry about choosing the wrong one. I am a single mum and don't have any friends or family in the area and I just feel so bad like I have done something wrong. I know this can't be true if he has asd but I keep thinking maybe he used the ipad too much instead of taking him out to groups and letting him interact more.

We had an appt with NHS speech and she will give him 4 sessions in March and referred him to a paediatrician for social interaction. That is also in March despite her saying there would be a 6 month wait so I am really happy about that.

His traits are as follows:

Hitting self in head
Saying same sentence over and over
Hardly any pretend play
Scrunching face squinting eyes
Has eye contact when you call name but if you are talking.
Watches hands a lot I even wonder what is so fascinating.
Laughs at stuff I have no idea about lol
Claps hand really hard when frustrated ( this could be normal but it is the way he does it and this swaps between doing this and hitting head)

He understands most of what I tell him to do and if I show him once he can then do it.

He doesn't have any conversational speech. I get down on the floor and if I talk too much during play he gets up and finds something else to do lol. When I say talk to much I keep it simple. I have reduced my language to 2 or 3 words at a time

Any advice please?

Oh yh he starts nursery next week but has been home with me otherwise

Chocolatdreams Wed 27-Jan-16 18:37:24

He has no sense of danger outside and had always ran along whilst hoding my hanf and me trying to slow him down. I've only just been able to teach him to walk instead of running but there is no way I can let go of his hand he could run off at any given moment which he thinks is fun.

I have been taking him for walks in a very quiet area and been teaching him to slow down and walk.

If you made it this far. Bless you!

stillstandingatthebusstop Wed 27-Jan-16 18:55:22

Hi Chocolatdreams

thanks for you. You sound really stressed and worried so I wanted to post. Is your DS starting at Nursery attached to a primary school? If so they may be able to get you and your DS some more support. He sounds like he is able to communicate quite well - if not the same way as other children.
My DS is 14 now and he has favourite echolalic (is that a real word?) phrases he has used for years and years.

I wonder if you have seen a paediatrician? Or CAMHS? You could go to your GP and ask to be referred.

stillstandingatthebusstop Wed 27-Jan-16 18:58:35

You have definitely not done anything wrong!!!! You sound really knowledgeable and sensible in the way you are trying to help your DS. Have some cake as well. You can get support on these SN boards!!

PolterGoose Wed 27-Jan-16 19:07:06

Hi Choc smile you sound like you're doing brilliantly, you've identified your ds's needs and got referrals in place, that's a lot more than I'd done at that age, he's lucky to have you.

Echolalia is really important, as I'm sure you know, my ds used it alongside speech and the skill remains even now he's 12, he's an astonishing mimic and fab at languages, so it has its upsides.

This is a good blog on echolalia

Danger-wise, use reins, harness, backpack and lead, whatever works for you and him. Maybe practise him responding to a firm ' MiniChoc, Stop!' as a game. If he does have autism often General instructions aren't 'heard' so use name then instructing can help.

The fluttering hands, I read something recently about it being used sometimes as a way to filter light, either because it's too bright or just because it's nice.

PolterGoose Wed 27-Jan-16 19:08:17

Have a look at the early years fact file here for some practical advice.

Has he had a hearing test?

Chocolatdreams Wed 27-Jan-16 20:50:56

Thank you stillstanding and polter I feel an emotional mess reading both of your replies made me burst into tears but happy tears so thank you both.

Nursery is just somewhere I have put him basically for the social interaction and that he is probably bored at home with me. His scripting is worse when he is bored I find. He starts preschool attached to a primary in September. I had to go and look up what Camhs was as had no idea. We see a paediatrician in March.

I have read the page on echolalia a few weeks back and it is how I learnt the name. I still need to go through the website. My phone has 100 tabs open and about 60 of those are different pages on autism and what to do posts that I really want to get back to reading.

Thank you so much for fact file I've never seen it before and shall be reading it tonight for sure.
He had hearing test and it was fine. For the second part He also understood what he had to do which was wait until he heard the sound before putting toy people in the boat. He did really well waiting which was sometimes so long and even I didn't hear one sound which he did.

With the echolalia I have taken away the ipad and switched off the TV. My ds never even really watched the TV it was just background noise and he only enjoyed the themes tunes to the programmes never watched the shows (I think that is now due to the people talking too much on it) except waybuloo and abadas.

He loves anything musical and sings all day long. That is what he would watch on the ipad. Nursery rhymes he knows so many of them. Or learning things never cartoons. He can count to 43. Know's his shapes and colours. I have now taken it away and feel so bad for him cause he enjoyed it so much and I think it taught him alot. He isn't addicted as he doesn't cry for it but he likes to play the same things over and over so that is where the echolalia ties in. I have taken it away so he interacts more and he has a bit but nobody can say echolalia comes from watching too much TV as I read to him and he echos lines from books too.

I started to let him watch a show once a week like sesame Street but he only has to watch it once and now has an echo of " please come back". Took me a minute to realise this is elmo. Good thing I don't swear. But he does know the theme tune to 'orange is the new black' and loves the eastenders one too lol.

I have also let him do a couple of puzzle games on my phone which he is good at and enjoys. Are there any apps to help with speech and learning for autism kids?

PolterGoose Wed 27-Jan-16 21:00:13

Keep an eye out for the poster zzzzz, she's a whizz with apps for supporting language development.

Personally I wouldn't stop the TV and iPad, maybe mot as background, but unless it's every waking hour, I would relax a bit.

Chocolatdreams Wed 27-Jan-16 21:19:49

OK thank you I will try and search for posts too that she may have mentioned some before.

I will slowly introduce the TV maybe with Mr Tumble once every few days and see how he handles it although he only really takes notice of the songs but maybe he might watch since he hasn't seen it for so long. Because he has never sat and watched sesame Street beforehand either but when I reintroduced it he did. Must be the withdrawal symptoms from no TV and ipad.

I have deleted YouTube for sure and maybe will control it through the TV so he can't rewind stuff himself. I miss my dancing little boy. His dancing is not the same when he can't see the videos too. He looks like he is at a mini rave when it's on the TV, like he is listening to the tunes from the good old days.

Gosh I've rambled but it felt so much better to get it all out. Thank you so much you don't actually know how much you've helped

zzzzz Wed 27-Jan-16 22:09:00

He sounds lovely! I will try and gather my thoughts but wanted to respond so I don't forget. My sons was very similar and after years of ummming and ahhing has recently got a dx for asd and has a severe language disorder. We are happy and he is far from average but a joy. I remember the terrible terror and worry of the early years. For us life is very good and he is so great to have.
As far as TV and apps go I am a very strong advocate for both. If you live in the SW we meet up occasionally for coffee, which might help.

zzzzz Wed 27-Jan-16 23:37:46

my experience is that reversing pronouns and asking for things with questions (eg saying "Would you like a glass of water?" instead of "Can I have a glass of water?") is developmental and no amount of pushing or reducing screen time is going to push that development forwards. (I am obviously not advocating sitting in front of the TV all day)

For language disordered children replaying tv can be VERY helpful. Even now at 10 ds will watch a video multiple times before he understands all the dialogue (and only then in his own way some things are beyond him). I often sit with him explaining why people are behaving as they do and rephrasing things in more familiar terms. It is a good way of expanding his sentence forming and provides more age appropriate language than dh or I would use.

I think iPad has been a real game changer for ds and would recommend using it as a teaching aid as soon as possible for your ds. The skill is in choosing the apps and regulating the use. No child should be using screens in the hour before bedtime but this is particularly true of children with developmental disorders (nb a developmental disorder just means learning stuff out of the usual order eg speaking in sentences before you understand the content, counting before you have names). The blue light given off by the screens reduces the hormones needed to feel sleepy and children with developmental disorders often under produce these hormones anyway. I find it best to get into a routine that helps you do the things you need to do. So you might get up and give ds breakfast and then allow him to use his Ipad for an hour while you clear away, have a shower and MN and do anything else needed, then put it away and go for a walk. Do the same at various times during the day.

So what apps? I am a bit of an app junky. I truly believe that the iPad is a superior teaching aid for our children than many traditional methods. It is important to realise that while your child may be struggling to communicate the rest of him may be developing on a pace. It is really important to feed that side of his intellect. the two main reasons are that people often dismiss children who can't communicate as dim, and their expectations of both academics and behaviour sink. They allow themselves to think the child is unteachable and that he must learn to talk (or sit still or be polite or stop rocking) BEFORE he can learn to read or count or do any of the other things they teach everyone else as a right. THIS IS NOT TRUE. It is perfectly possible to learn to read before you can talk (and there are quite a few of us on this board who can prove it grin ) It is very hard to claim a child is stupid or unteachable if he can read and count and add, it will change people perceptions of him and that will change outcomes. The other reason is boredom. Bored frustrated children who cannot communicate are difficult to live with and have a hard time. Your child needs to exercise his brain even if he can't use it to chat with you yet. Finding non verbal brain stretchers is hard work but will help him cope till he can talk more freely and help maintain self esteem and good mental health (which you are going to have to learn to protect like a lioness)

I would try Buddy Bear Apps for language, Montessorium intro to maths and intro to letters (actually all of them are fabulous but don't do everything at once) the thing with the apps is to avoid ones that are too "gamey" with big prizes and beepy tahdahs, it should be a peaceful thing with little stimulus beyond completing the game.

There is an on line shop called AbsorbentMinds that carries a lot of great stock to stretch little minds. The vast majority of it can be made at home but it gave me tons of ideas.

if you can find a friendly music therapist, ds really enjoyed that and I think it gave him one activity where his language was never an issue and he could just be.

Swimming lessons where also a wow.

ask anything you want, there are lots of us who have had similar little people and though not all of us have the same dx there is enough common ground that someone usually comes up with something.

Chocolatdreams Thu 28-Jan-16 10:18:51

Wow thank you for this great information
It sounds soppy but you seem heaven sent! Thank you. I feel like I can start somewhere at least. Am waiting on the more than words book to arrive also.

zzzzz Thu 28-Jan-16 13:18:10

Not soppy at all. It's always better to have a plan, it keeps the panic at bay wink . This board has been enormously helpful for me over the years. Everyone is so practical and we all do different things so you get to hear loads of different ideas on what to do and can pick and choose.

The book I really liked was Language for Thinking (which is aimed at school age but I think there is one for pre-schoolers in the same set.

Chocolatdreams Thu 28-Jan-16 15:38:32

I am not seeing one for preschool age. I did read a thread regarding that book though for school age and it looks fab. When the time comes it will be on my purchase list.

Everyone here really is a wealth of information and so helpful. There is much to take in. As I said I have like 60 plus pages on my phones of threads to check back. I was a bit lost with all the abbreviations but managing to look them up and not feel so lost.

Cakescakescakes Thu 28-Jan-16 15:50:13

I found Twirlywoos was a great programme to watch for my ASD, echolalic and speech delayed DS. The language is very simple and repeated throughout so he can follow it easily and it also teaches great basic concepts eg 'behind', 'inside', 'cleaning'. I download episodes onto the BBC Iplayer app on his iPad too.

zzzzz Thu 28-Jan-16 16:01:11

I think it was called language for thinking but I didn't use it as only heard about when de was already in school

Chocolatdreams Thu 28-Jan-16 16:44:32

Oh yes cakescake I know twirlywoos will give it a try. Slowly and steadily I think with the TV. I will put them through the chrome cast. He definitely will be able to follow those concepts as he has great understanding.

Yes I know the one you mean zzzzzz it's aged 4-12.

zzzzz Thu 28-Jan-16 17:55:12

Grrrrr Language for learning, is what I meant to write in my last post. As I said I didn't use it but I think it's the same just pitched younger????

Learning to read and sensory exercises from Montessori are very helpful

Notgivingin789 Thu 28-Jan-16 20:01:11

Really liked your post on 23:37:46 zzzzz. I limit the time DS is on the IPAD. But I've never heard of those apps you suggested, I'll give them a try.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 29-Jan-16 18:57:30

Hi Chocolat - if your son is at preschool then this is a positive sign, he can obviously tolerate others and if you can sit down with him for a short time and talk to him, that's good too. So take heart! If you son can imitate it's likely he will pick up speech eventually, but some things really help.

I have a 3 year old who is the same, except wasn't even asking for ANYTHING, not one thing! Just repeated phrases and nouns. Screamed if anyone tried to talk to him. Still does scream when spoken too usually. He has been diagnosed as autistic, but to be honest that has been a relief really, finally knowing what is wrong and now able to help my son a bit.

I started with asking, I would give my son LOTS of practice asking, and just basically went back to basics. I got him to ask for his favourite things by breaking them up into small pieces, putting them in a bag, and repeating ONE word for the thing, e.g. 'Cookies' and giving them to him. Eventually I'd wait a little longer and say 'Co...' until he started to ask for 'Cookies' by name. Took AGES. But he asks for loads now! And then you can start building him up to 'WANT.... cookies', once he has one words.

Don't worry about making him talk, get enthusiastic about something that he likes and point and say 'Birds' or 'Balls' or whatever. Wait for him to say 'ball' and join in 'Where is ball?' oh 'There is ball'. He'll get there. Don't worry too much.

Also, I found YouTube fine but through chromecast so you can do playlists of videos suited to what you want them to pick up - e.g. action verbs for toddlers/twirlywoos etc.

Good luck! There are others out there like you. Me included! smile

Chocolatdreams Sat 30-Jan-16 22:08:07

Sorry for late response!

Will have to look that up zzzzz!

Thank you bananainpajamas. You give me so much hope. I am kinda over dramatic. .........being worried he will never talk and have a life. The first thing that went through my head was what would happen to him when I die....who would look out for him.?? Yes I am one of those lol. I was so relieved he started to say his needs even if it is muddled. Reading all you guys post and stories I have realised that even if he wasn't able to say his needs and wants it will still be OK. Life can still be great!

I love my boy so much. He is so happy and joyful and full of life.

The women on this board are truly amazing and inspiring.

Does anybody have any advice on the hitting his head thing. It has got worse over the last few days. I don't think it has anything to do with anything he has eaten. Must just be a stim (is that right?). I try to redirect it to clapping which sometimes helps but I'm scared the constant hitting of the head will cause some sort of damage. It isn't hard that he does it but if you keep hitting your head over and over that can't be good. I would say he probably hit it roughly today about 16 times. I managed to redirect it to clapping a fair few times. I even told him off a few times (mainly cos im scared) and I felt bad for doing it cos I don't know why he does it.

Chocolatdreams Sat 30-Jan-16 22:15:19

Bananas those tips are great can I steal anymore?

As I said he can ask for things. Anything he wants and if he doesn't know the name he will point at (just taught him pointing and sometimes he gets it or sometimes uses his whole hand to gesture point at) and ask by the colour but once told the name he will know it from then on.

What is the next step really? Do you have a home speech therapist?

I find he has learnt phrases and uses these. He says one phrase about 20 times though when asking lol. I can hear him now in my head 'put it in the bin' 'put it in the bin' while he goes to put something I told him in the bin.

zzzzz Sat 30-Jan-16 23:52:08

can he do under/over/in/on etc?

what about WHERE and WHO?

Or two part commands "shoes on then sit on your chair"

can he take a "message", eg "go tell Daddy Lunch time "?

can he ask for more/less? tell you if something is hot/cold?

these are all the sorts of things we would try and teach in the early days.

Can he answer "what's your name?" "how old are you?"

teaching him his own phone number and how to call is a good skill as is his address and both lend themselves to number loving echolaliacs wink

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 31-Jan-16 00:29:28

You are doing great! I also had some moments where I realised that he had so many needs, what if I got sick and suddenly there was no one to look after him etc. All very natural.

You taught him to point too, so you are obviously able to pass on some skills, which is brilliant. Some days I don't see any change at all in my son, for a while he seemed to drop everything he knew before. It's all stops and starts.

I'm no expert, but once he is asking for things by name, just keep it up a lot. And then introduce something like action verbs, the obvious ones like jump, eat, walk, drink. You can do it in lots of ways, from books, or just saying it a lot (or however much your child can handle, with mine, he can't handle a lot of talking to him at all) while doing it. Also things like - 'up' 'down' and body parts 'where's your nose' - took me AGES - as my son didn't understand very much at all.

As an example he screamed at me every time I even demonstrated 'touch head' and then screamed even more loudly when I moved him hand to 'touch head' on himself. I didn't want to overload him to tried to do this daily but not very often.

So there were times I just felt despondent, is this helping him etc, how long does it take, my son was basically totally behind developmentally with so many things. And then, as if by magic, suddenly, he started doing all of the above and I can't stop him coming up to me while he shows me where his nose is, jumping, eating etc.

Combining even two words also seems to hurt my sons head, he'd much rather repeat a phrase. In fact, interaction was non existant. But gradually, by often adding a word to his, or by using really simple language, we can do 'Look bird' or 'See dog' or on a good day 'want cookie'. It's all at your child's pace. Anything that you can do to get your child's shared attention, whether it's exagerated 'Look... tree' or jumping up and down with them saying 'jump'.

My son also hits his head, on and off, usually when stressed and does it a lot. I tell him no hitting, move his hands down and do whatever it is that calms him down, often grabbing him for a big cuddle. A lot is trial and error. What works for you might be different.

You don't have a diagnosis yet do you? It's hard to say what would help most - as there is so much discussion about what is best. A lot of people say ABA works very well, but that is intensive and requires supervision - an educationa psychologist may advise about that. Speech and language therapy could help, depending on who you got - mine just said use picture exchange but didn't actually assess my son at all. Occupational therapy helps with sensory difficulties.

I'd say it's helpful just to get started anyway. Write down under 'communication - expressing and understanding' - 'social' - 'physical' and 'behaviour' - what you feel your child's strengths and weaknesses are. Then look at what you think are the most important - usually communication and any problem behaviour - then get as much information as you can and get some private assessments with recommendations if you can. Read up about ABA and see if it is right for you.

Good luck! Don't be too worried about the future, who knows what it will be, but your child has a very proactive and loving parent it seems in you, so they will be getting a real head start whatever they are capable or not capable for growing into. flowers

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 31-Jan-16 01:14:12

p.s. he sounds like he is really doing well in a lot of ways 'put it in the bin' - used really appropriately, even if it's repeated a lot, take heart!

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