Echo Echolalia: “That’s a house”

Pudding has a new script as we drive in the car.  She looks out of the window at the buildings.  When she sees a house, she repeats:

That’s a house, and you remember this house.

And then we pass another house, and she’ll say it again:

That’s a house, and you remember this house.

Every time we pass a house.  Every time.  Sometimes we pass buildings that aren’t houses, and she demands to know what they are.  It doesn’t matter if I’m driving in rush hour traffic with idiots on their phones who don’t look when they change lanes (calm down, Spectrummy Mummy); if we pass a building and she doesn’t know what it is, that must be rectified.  Luckily she has that awesome memory on her, and a near GPS-like mapping skill, so once she has been told it is a hotel, or a mall, and then checked on the veracity of that a subsequent time, she is cool.

That’s a house, and you remember this house.  That’s a house.  That’s a house.  That’s a hotel.  That’s a coffee shop.

As I imagine it, she is talking through adding it to her mental map.  Then each time, checking that map hasn’t changed, and adding a little more.  It is pretty cool that she finds ways to make her world more ordered, so I don’t get too irritated by it, even though we spent a lot of time working on my motor skills.

Until Cubby does it too.

At first he would just immediately repeat everything she said, to Pudding’s great delight.

That’s a house.  (That’s a house).  That’s a house, and you remember this house.  (That’s a house and you remember this house).

The two of them were greatly amused by this game of Driving Mama Crazy.  But then Cubby started doing it when Pudding wasn’t around too.  Using the exact same words as his sister.  Echolalia of echolalia.  I can generally distract him, but left to his own devices, he repeats the script at length throughout the journey.  He repeats at other times too, but not consistently.

Does he have echolalia?  Does his brain work in the same tape recorder way?  Cubby has advanced language skills for his age, but he doesn’t always use his words socially or flexibly.  Does echolalia fill a gap when he doesn’t have the skills to communicate effectively?  At times echolalia seems to perform the same function as it does for Pudding.

Or is is something else?  Is echolalia normal to him because that is what he has heard all his life from his big sister?  Is it reinforced by her laughter and encouragement?  If Pudding was no longer echolaic, would it die away with him too?

All these things pass through my mind whenever we’re in the car together.  Is history repeating itself, or is is just my boy repeating my girl’s words?  Echo echolalia.  And can I tell myself that he is merely copying all those spectrummy behaviors that we see in him now?  She spins in circles, flaps her hands, and has meltdowns, so why shouldn’t he?  But what about the spinning wheels, his difficulty with transitions, the way he gets overwhelmed when there are more than a couple of kids around?  These are things that Pudding doesn’t do.  It is so hard to tell what actions are *his* and what are a result of being a younger sibling in our home.

Certainly this afternoon I’ll be thinking about these things some more, as I drive my grey-area kid to his IEP eligibility meeting.  And yes, it is crazy that we’re going through this Incredibly Enervating Process again weeks before we move to another continent.  But if we’re going to have a repetition of what happened last time we moved, I’m going to be prepared for it.

 

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Spectrummymummy
You can call me Spectrummy Mummy, your guide to our not-so-average family and all things spectrummy. I’m originally from England, American by marriage, and currently living in Argentina, by way of a couple of other countries. Honestly though, it doesn’t matter where we’re living, we know for sure that the journey is more important than the destination.
Spectrummymummy

spectrummymummy

You can call me Spectrummy Mummy, your guide to our not-so-average family and all things spectrummy. I’m originally from England, American by marriage, and currently living in Argentina, by way of a couple of other countries. Honestly though, it doesn’t matter where we’re living, we know for sure that the journey is more important than the destination.

10 thoughts on “Echo Echolalia: “That’s a house”

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm
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  • August 1, 2011 at 2:25 am
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    My boy is nearly 4 years old and doesn’t talk much.  He mostly just repeats things.  But it has helped him to use words and phrases correctly when he does speak on his own.

  • July 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm
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    My son Josh pretty much only repeated what was said or quoted things he watched on TV until he was about 4. Neither of my other two kids (both girls) did this at all. Kailey (2nd) was speaking in complete and original sentences before she was a year old… and she is only 14 months younger than Josh. So… she pretty much helped HIM learn to talk. (They started talking at about the same time… he would echo her.) Julie (with as many other problems as she has) seems to have started talking around the same age as any other kid… but developed a much bigger vocabulary more quickly, but she had me and her siblings to learn from… and I’m the kind of mom who told her 3 yr old, “Don’t antagonize your sister!” *shrugs*

  • July 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm
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    I have schizophrenia, and I do that.   

    I echo things when my thought process goes astray.  It’s like of like how you say, “it’s okay” after some statement when you’re just filling in air, “we went to the store.  It’s okay.” You’re searching for something else to say, but that’s what your mind pulls up.  It’s random, but it’s not.  Your mind knows to say that for *empty space*

    I say, “so sacrifice yourself” all of the time.  It’s from a song from “Breaking Benjamin.” 

    The way the mind works is bizarre.  You pull up all these references for everything that you’re thinking.  When the mind is messed up, it pulls up odd references.  He knows that he’s supposed to say something then, and that’s what he says when he sees a house or thinks of his sister.

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