April is Autism Awareness Month
In honor of this special month, let’s discuss a common behavior, echolalia
You may have heard of echolalia before and wondered what it was or what it meant. Echolalia is the repetition of words or the echoing of words and sounds. It is a neurotypical developmental process up until about the age of 3. Think of that word you said that your toddler repeated over and over…that’s echolalia. However, once this occurs after the age of 3, it may be a sign of something more.
Why do autistic individuals engage in echolalia? For many reasons! The person might be self-stimulating via word use. They could be stressed and trying to express themselves. They could also be attempting to learn about the word and its response or to engage with others but are not sure how to do so. Echolalia can even be a way to request something or a way of answering yes/no. All behavior is a form of communication and that includes echolalia!
So, the next time that you hear that someone engages in echolalia, put on your detective hat and try to figure out what they are communicating!