Echolalia: your child repeats everything you say, is that serious?  |  TF1 INFO

Echolalia: your child repeats everything you say, is that serious? | TF1 INFO

Echolalia is a language disorder in which we systematically repeat the last words we heard.
This habit can be identified in children under three years of age when they are learning to speak.
Echolalia becomes an abnormal phenomenon after childhood.

Does your child repeat every last word, syllable or sentence you say? This may include echolalia, a language disorder first identified in 1943 as a hallmark of autism spectrum disorder. There are two types of echolalia: immediate, when repetition occurs immediately after hearing the words heard, and delayed. When a child learns to talk, we don’t really worry about it, because repeating what he hears allows him to work on his memory. Imitation plays a fundamental role in toddlers’ language development. Echolalia is considered a language disorder if this recurrence continues on average beyond the age of three years.

When does echolalia become abnormal in children?

All parents who have small parrots at home can rest assured: echolalia is a normal phenomenon in children learning oral communication. It is considered a language disorder if it persists beyond early childhood. If your little one can’t say anything other than what he hears from you, it’s possible that the echolalia is pathological in nature.

Various signals can warn you, such as the manifestation of a feeling of frustration during a conversation, muteness or even systematic and persistent echolalia, which does not seem coherent. If in doubt, we recommend that you consult a qualified health care provider, starting with your primary care physician or pediatrician, who can refer you to a speech therapist.

Can echolalia be treated?

The diagnosis of echolalia is clinical. Firstly, it is important to identify the cause, which could be autism spectrum disorder, memory loss or head trauma or even communication problems, before referring the patient to the appropriate specialist. Several sessions with a speech therapist make it possible to help patients. Behavioral therapy can also help them work on the way they express themselves, while in some cases medications such as antidepressants can be prescribed to counteract the side effects of echolalia, such as anxiety, stress or even depression.

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