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Echolalia - how do you deal with it?

(24 Posts)
BialystockandBloom Sat 10-Jul-10 22:03:01

DS 3.2, currently going through assessment but almost certainly asd.

I'm wondering what is the best approach to his random repeating of phrases from tv (mainly Thomas or Something Special wink).

Sometimes we can kind of make it into a conversation (of sorts), which at least makes me feel it's a two-way dialogue and he's engaging with us. But sometimes there's just nothing I can say to "well done Thomas" repeated again and again...

Would love to know from those with more experience than me, how do you deal with it? Try and turn it into a conversation to help two-way conversation - or will this just reinforce and perpetuate it? Or ignore it, thereby leaving him in his own world even more sad

Does it even make any difference what I do?

lisad123isgoingcrazy Sat 10-Jul-10 23:11:25

Well I would love to know the answer too. DD2 is 2.10years and we get peppa pig in back of the car alot, and stories heard aswell. We tend to try and make it into a convo where possible, because the way i see it, its her way of communicating with us in her way, and wouldnt want to stop that at all.
I asked SALT who saw us last month but she didnt know best way to deal with it either hmm


BialystockandBloom Sat 10-Jul-10 23:20:19

"its her way of communicating with us in her way, and wouldnt want to stop that at all."

That's how I instinctively feel too, but it makes for strange conversations! And not sure if it's the best approach for them to learn appropriate conversation iyswim.

How very helpful of your SALT hmm I hope she's more useful in other ways!

maktaitai Sat 10-Jul-10 23:23:50

I wonder if you've read 'More than Words', the Hanen book about communication with children with autism? I'm only a SALT student, not a parent, but I thought it was great. (not cheap though [sad]- maybe your library would order it?

lisad123isgoingcrazy Sat 10-Jul-10 23:25:58

she sucks, so we have a new specialist one coming (old one was garden varity type), new one is also DD1 SALT too, so knowns us. Hoping shes better.

Even if convo is strange it still teaches that people respond to speech, about pause, tenses, and 2 way convo, so I would guess still helpful.

We do get other language out of DD2, not just echolalia but her expressive language is focused on getting her needs met rather than conversation and repeptive language is further behide (unles its of benieft to her to listen) grin

Marne Sun 11-Jul-10 09:12:04

Dd2 went through a peppa pig stage 9repeating it word for word at random times), she's now onto Strawberry short cake but she now uses it when she's playing with her happyland (acts out a episode). She still repeats what strangers say to her.

gravelchops Sun 11-Jul-10 18:53:19

My two-pence worth...My son had severe echololia age 3. He still has some echolalia now but not as freqent.
We worked out that his echolalia was for two main reasons
a) for enjoyment, hearing the same phrases or repeating what he found funny
b) when he was trying to carry out an instruction i.e. saying it out loud to process/remember what to do.
My advice would be not to worry, as his language skills improve, the echolalia should reduce. It's a bit annoying but it's part of who they are so I would go along with it if it makes them happy.

Barmymummy Sun 11-Jul-10 20:24:26

My DS (5) repeats alot of stuff he hears from the TV particularly in the car and at the dinner table. There are spells that last for 2/3 months that he is intensely doing it all the time. Just as I get to the point where I think I am going to go mad I find that his speech and language skills have taken a big jump. This has happened a few times and I now console myself that when he goes through these intense stages of copying, he is in fact gearing his brain up to learn/cope with the all new words/sentences he can now use. Every cloud had a silver lining wink HTH smile

BialystockandBloom Sun 11-Jul-10 20:45:09

Thanks everyone for the replies, sorry hadn't had a chance to check back till now (rl intrusion on mn, darn it).

Interesting what some of you say about it being linked to language improvement. Although it's not very conversational, his language is not too bad; not advanced but not that delayed I don't think (though his pronunciation is poor). And in the last couple of months he's definitely improved, with much longer sentances.

Gravelchops, I do hope you're right though, that it may reduce as his language improves even more. I also agree, I think part of it is definitely for enjoyment.

Lisad, hope your new SALT is better - great that she knows you already. Is she NHS or private?

lisad123isgoingcrazy Mon 12-Jul-10 00:37:15

She's NHS but shes the one that is linked with communications clinics, and is very good in my expereince of her.

BigWeeHag Mon 12-Jul-10 09:47:30

DS1 has mild echolalia- one of his things that makes me LOL is that a friend of his who has severe ASD echos the "milkshake" theme, and DS1 echos him! (He's never seen it.) But mostly he uses phrases from TV shows in order to communicate - he does generally find something relevant.

wasuup3000 Mon 12-Jul-10 11:00:33

Mine likes the talking lifts fine when its just you and him but when they are full a bit embarrassing! "Stand back, doors closing, going up 1st floor, stand back, doors opening ect....

hanaka88 Mon 12-Jul-10 11:33:50

my child is curretly being assessedthough everyone is rpretty sure he has aspergers and he does this, but I didnt realise there was a name for it! I use it for conversation as much as I can...but recently one of his friends at nursery must have said 'dead' and now al Dylan says is dead...mymmu will be dead, I will be dead...I duinno how to turn that into a nice conversation lol

shimmerysilverglitter Mon 12-Jul-10 11:49:18

Ds had near constant echolalia at Nursery but would talk to us at home. We tended to try and turn it into a conversation as others havd said.

He is 7 now and moved on but will still do it occasionally when stressed in a conversation or just because he likes the sounds of the words. More now though he will talk about The Underground and Trains during the course of most "normal" conversation.

Our SALT says it is because when he finds it difficult to process what is required of him during conversation he will fall back on the language he feels safe with whether or not it is relevant. Sometimes he is on Skype with his grandparents and the conversation flags and he will immediately start talking about the District Line or DLR because he cannot think of anything to say. I usually hang around and then will whisper something for him to talk about, maybe the park or something that happened at school.

BialystockandBloom Mon 12-Jul-10 14:21:40

Shimmery, did your SALT advise to try and turn it into a conversation?

My attempt yesterday:

DS: [DS name] where's my spotty bag?
Me: I don't know ds, where is your spotty bag?
DS: [pointing randomly] there!

I was at a loss then for what to say except "oh".

The spotty bag reference is from Something Special and is a popular one atm. Apparently he asks his (only) friend at nursery this, but his friend never knows where the bag is grin

shimmerysilverglitter Mon 12-Jul-10 14:29:10

We didn't get SALT until he was nearly 5 and not doing it so much so it wasn't really an issue.

In my opinion I think turning it into a conversation can only be a postive thing. I used to get down onto his level and maybe pick up another toy and talk to him about it. For me it was never really an issue because he never displayed it as much at home and he could be distracted and moved on but at Nursery they could not move him on from it at all, it was why they first had suspicions of ASD. I was clueless tbh. It came as a total shock to me when the first raised their concerns.

lisad123isgoingcrazy Tue 13-Jul-10 00:25:42

They do come out with some great lines though. I shouted "jerk" at some man that pulled out on me in the car, DD2 carried on shouting it all the way home. She also sounds great when you can tell its from an adult convo, so sweet but I count us lucky that her language is all echolalia

wotsleep Tue 13-Jul-10 21:52:40

It took looking up on the internet to find out what the repeating everything was, as my health visitor was neither use nor ornament. I had always suspected that there was something wrong from strange growling noises when tired at 3months, out bursts of screaming for no reason( and the ability for it to go on for hours!) head butting,biting,pinching,scratching then came the echoing... After people making me feel like I was making too much of the way my son was acting I decided to do research of my own. It was then I realised that my son never used the word yes..he would repeat back if he wanted and would clearly use no when he didnt. The constant tv quotes were becoming so bad that he would wake from the 4hours per night sleep he would have screaming thomas engine names! enough was enough it had to stop thomas was band. I have cut tv time down and its always random never the same programmes the following day. at first it causes distress which I have found can be eased with other distractions. I am glad to say my son was 3 last week and although we still have a mountain to climb echoing is minimal, he can be around things thomas related without being overwhelmed and repetative and although still there at times his agressive behaviour has lessend. it is a massive step to me just that simple thing of hearing an answer instead of "bust my buffers" I also blame the tank engine for his fear of going on a train! every episode there is a crash or disaster! I have aged 10years in 3 but it is worth it if I can unlock the door to his world and give him a way out.

woolytree Tue 13-Jul-10 22:09:18

My DD does it to, has memorised Toy Story 1 &2, Up, Cloudy with a chance of meatballs and recently Mickey Mouses Playhouse & OSO Special! She has also developed irrational phobias of pepper pig, pingu, people holding helium filled balloons, dogs, trains, grey clouds, goes on. We have ocassional conversations but they are always learnt, stuctured and to ask for things like lunch!

We told her two weeks ago she couldnt do something..'We'll go another day'...shes still saying it over and over every day. Progress is slow but repeating seems to calm her and vocab is improving bit by bit,

wotsleep Tue 13-Jul-10 23:05:17

In a strange way I think these children are probably using more of their brain than most people. I cant even memorise my own mobile number and yet my son can repeat a whole hour long film. my personal oppinion is they have the ability to communicate but their mind is so full of information they just need to figure out away to translate it to us. stopped overthinking everything and try to think of new ways to help him. now when he asks for anything relating to food I repeat what he has asked for then I follow it with Oh you must be hungry, then turn it to a question, are you hungry? my hope is that in the next few weeks he will then begin to tell me hes hungry and express what he wants. so far the 6week per hurdle seems to be working.

shimmerysilverglitter Wed 14-Jul-10 12:19:51

wotsleep I agree, I think there must be areas in our kids's brains that our hugely developed from memorising all this stuff. Our SALT said that they can't relate verbally spontaneously so fall back upon language that comforts them and that they do know.

I didn't have a clue about ds being ASD or echolalic or whatever, he had poor eye contact at a few months old but I would keep following his eyes with mine until he looked at me and I did that constantly until I couldn't really see a problem with it. My Developmental Paed said that would have been early intervention, although I didn't even know that is what I was doing. There were no other signs that I could see, it only became apparent when he started nursery and didn't want to socialise with the other kids and would get terribly upset if there was any singing or other loud noises or music etc.

drloves Wed 14-Jul-10 12:38:22

We try to build conversations from it , talk about what the ecolia is from (dvd`s ,songs , ect)
Gets a bit hard if its spanish from diego and dora , or chinese from ni hoi kia -lan
dd4`s latest is to sing the dissy rascal song thats out < sigh, blames the teenagers>.
The animal noises are a bit hmm
Going round Asda , dd4 was barking like a dog. <disclaimer had just seen Sil and her puppy>

wotsleep Wed 14-Jul-10 20:58:29

dont know if anyone has a problem when anyone is laughing ? my son has a major breakdown, dont know how to try to get round this one have tried reasurrance and involving him but nothing is working!!!! his music tastes tho leave a lot to be desired lady ga ga!

mariagoretti Thu 15-Jul-10 23:09:49

The most worrying echolalia is my own repeating the same answer to thesame repeated question

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