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Unusual symptom - repeating what someone else is saying (Echolalia)

Discussion in 'General Symptoms' started by BeautifulDay, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. BeautifulDay

    BeautifulDay Senior Member

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    A new symptom has popped up in our littlest daughter (now 9 years old). A few months ago,she began repeating what we would be saying. For example, one time I was in the kitchen and started telling her "The hawk has been flying around all day over our neighbor's chickens."

    By the time I was saying the word "hawk" she had already finished saying the word "The". She'll continue to repeat several sentences just a hair after the speaker. It's happening now 1 to 2 times a day. At first we were annoyed thinking she was being a "smart ass", but she didn't even realize she was doing it.

    It's called Echolalia. Yesterday, she asked me after repeating 4 of my sentences if she had just repeated my words. I said yes. So she is to the point of recognizing it after the fact occassionally.

    Echolalia can come on from many things, including autistic spectrum. Since our son is high functioning autistic spectrum, and since autism has been found to be linked to mitochondrial disease there is a good chance this is just another mito symptom.

    We now have a signal to let her know she is repeating someone's conversation. We'll scratch our elbow.

    When it first started occurring I started researching on the internet and it looked like many people who asked about their children doing this were told to stand up to the child who of course they thought must be doing this on purpose. I want to put that wrongful conclusion to rest. It's real and unknown to our child when she is doing it.

    A 1983 report indicated that up to 75% of verbal people with autism have some form of echolalia.
    Prizant, B.M. (1983). Echolalia of autistic individuals: Assessment and intervention issues. Seminars in Speech and Language, 4, 63-77. Summarized from Heffner, Gary J. Echolalia and Autism, The Autism Home Page: Echolalia Facts. July 2000. Retrieved 1 December 2006.
    http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Echolalia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echolalia

    Just when you think you've seen all the possible different symptoms someone could have from this (from the feeling of a round section of skin being on fire to not sweating on one's face), up pops a new one. Always got to be on one's toes with this.
     
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  2. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    Oh my, thank you for sharing this with us, and helping to educate others.
     
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  3. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member

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    I once worked with a woman who repeated things a lot, including her own phrases. It was the only thing that seemed out of the ordinary about her. She was a star programmer.
     
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  4. Martial

    Martial Senior Member

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    Ventura, CA
    I work with kids/teens on the ASD spectrum. Echolalia and repeated phrases and question asking is so common with a lot of the people I work with. Sometimes its associated with PANDAS I believe as well.
     
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  5. BeautifulDay

    BeautifulDay Senior Member

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    @perchance dreamer Thank you for sharing. That puts it into perspective.

    I was blessed to hear Temple Grandin speak in person. Per Wikipedia "She is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to publicly share insights from her personal experience of autism. She invented the "hug box" device to calm those on the autism spectrum."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Grandin

    During her speech, she emphasized the fact that all this work we spend trying to socialize and steer autistic spectrum children into fitting some mold of "normal" is wasted. Her position was they are perfectly fine as they are. My step daughter reinforced this when she was attending a very competitive university and told us the majority of students in the engineering and computer sciences programs were on the spectrum and that what was seen as unusual behaviors to non-spectrum's, was often the norm in these departments who had many top professors and students on the spectrum.

    This was back when I was worried that our high functioning spectrum son who prefers to work on computers rather than socializing with peers, might have a difficult time in the work force if we didn't try to change some of his behaviors. I've since learned that letting him socialize in ways he feels comfortable, is better than me trying to push him into situations where he feels uncomfortable. He'll be going into his senior year in high school in September and this will be his second summer as an intern at a large technology company.

    It's nice to hear that the programmer you worked with was accepted and appreciated by her appears, and the position allowed her unique abilities to be viewed as a gift (a shining star). While I of course hope that our young daughter's echolalia disappears soon, it's heart warming to know of an example of a person with this being accepted and shining in her position.
     
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  6. BeautifulDay

    BeautifulDay Senior Member

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    @Martial Very interesting. I had to look up PANDAS. I had no idea that obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or tic disorders could suddenly appear following a strep infection. Thanks for enlightening me.
     
  7. RebeccaRe

    RebeccaRe Moose Enthusiast

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    I'm a special education teacher who sees a lot of kids on the spectrum who have echolalia. It's very common, although I don't see a lot of kids who repeat long phrases right after hearing them. But I often have students who repeat long phrases from TV shows or movies that they remember, or students who repeat just the last few words of sentences that they have just heard. It's good that she's aware of what she's doing now--I wonder if she can articulate why she thinks she's doing it.

    I am also the daughter of a physicist. He's not on the spectrum, but he gives me an interesting perspective on what people in scientific fields think about ASD. Mainly, they don't think about it! People on the spectrum have been excelling in certain fields for so long that many people in those fields don't really think twice about poor social skills or quirks common among people on the spectrum. There are certain things my father doesn't even notice unless I point them out (like a graduate student of his who didn't make eye contact, or a professor he worked with who often rocked back and forth). Dad told me: "Nobody really cares about all that stuff. The only thing I care about is whether or not you're brilliant."
     
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