What Parents Should Know About Echolalia

When you’re a parent with young children, monitoring your child’s health and development is essential. When you pay attention, you’re more likely to notice habits like echolalia, which children can develop for various reasons. Read on to learn what parents should know about echolalia.

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What Is Echolalia?

In terms of child development, echolalia refers to the repetition of words and phrases. It can happen right after your child hears you speak, such as repeating the last word you said. Alternatively, your child may repeat a whole phrase out of context, leaving you to wonder what it means.

What parents should know about echolalia is that it is a type of communication. When your child shows signs of echolalia, they are trying to communicate with you.

What Causes Echolalia?

Many people associate echolalia with autism, but many other conditions can also cause it. In fact, up until about two years old, it’s perfectly normal for your child to repeat things you say. By three years old, non-neurodivergent children should begin to speak their own sentences.

A child may be using echolalia because they don’t have the language skills to express what they want to say. Alternatively, they may get comfortable with this form of communication and do it because it’s easy. A licensed speech therapist can help you determine the differences between autism and a speech delay causing the echolalia.

How Do Therapists Treat Echolalia?

Depending on the cause of the echolalia and your child’s overall language skills, the therapist may try different tactics. These can include teaching your child to realize that what they are saying is different from what they intend to communicate. It can also mean helping to expand your child’s vocabulary. 

The important thing to know is that treating echolalia can take a long time. For some kids, it may never go away entirely. However, that doesn’t mean that the treatment hasn’t been successful.

Helping a Child With Echolalia

When you learn that your child has echolalia, it’s easy to jump to conclusions. You should focus on the fact that your child wants to communicate with you, which is very healthy. Once your pediatrician has recognized the echolalia symptoms, the best thing you can do is take your child to a speech therapist. 

2 thoughts on “What Parents Should Know About Echolalia

  • Excessive echolalia can also be the sign of a vision issue in a young child. The young child uses the repeating process to get a response from others so the child can tell who the people are around them and where they are. Back in my nursing days, the first thing I would ask the parent in this situation is if they had the child’s vision tested. We have caught vision issues in 2 -3 years old children where echolalia and clumsiness were the only symptoms. Young children can be very good at compensating for vision issues.

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