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How to Identify the Symptoms of Echolalia

Echolalia is basically a speech disorder where the person takes to repeating what he/she hears. The parrot like repetition can be either that they repeat the last words, a whole phrase or the entire dialogue from conversations, television, radio or movies. Echolalia is common among children with autism and this will inevitably help in improving their communication since children with autism will have only limited speech. A child can exhibit echolalia even without being autistic. Echolalia is also exhibited by individuals with or without other developmental disorders such as schizophrenia etc. Echolalia is of two types- immediate echolalia and delayed echolalia. In immediate echolalia, the person repeats what has just been said where as in delayed echolalia; a phrase is often repeated over various time periods. In the case of children, such type of speech disorder is temporary and as speech increases, echolalia will decrease.


Symptoms of echolalia:

  • Imitation by continuous repetition of words or phrases
  • Involuntary, meaningless repetitions
  • Uncontrollable imitation
  • Repeated imitation of movements of others
  • Echo reaction
  • Involuntary repetition of song lyrics or television shows
  • Language problems

For toddlers, echolalia may be a normal part of learning to communicate. The treatment of this type of disorder will depend on the severity of it. If the child is not autistic, then he/she can be enrolled in speech therapy where he will be taught to develop his vocabulary.