Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Echo Echolalia

with 12 comments

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.


Written by Spectrummy Mummy

June 9, 2011 at 7:23 am

12 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I see the same things in my children–things my son passes down to his sisters–and I wonder the same thing, are they copying him or is this something they are doing independent of him?? As they’ve gotten older it has gotten easier to figure out.
    Hard as it is to go through round two of IEP’s you’ll be prepared and know what to expect this time. Good luck, I’ll be thinking of you.


    June 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

  2. Good luck with your IEP meeting xx

    It’s a hard thing to figure out isn’t it!

  3. Hope you get some answers before you leave. Sending good thoughts your way.

    Karen V.

    June 9, 2011 at 10:02 am

    • I think actual definitive answers will be some time away, but he was found eligible for services at least.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      June 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm

  4. feel.your.pain. Completely. If we don’t stop living each other’s lives, I won’t be able to tell us apart anymore (well, except for the accent. Mine 🙂 )
    I don’t know the answers. We’re working on this very thing in speech with my youngest. He can imitate great, but his speech “flexibility” isn’t there. She’s given us some great strategies to flesh out appropriate, new, spontaneous speech. Doesn’t work all that well when he wants to parrot his older brother’s “silly words” instead.


    June 9, 2011 at 10:30 am

  5. My 18 year old typical daughter still struggles with social relationships and I often wonder how much of her struggle is related to her 2 brothers and dad’s AS behaviors and how much is her being somewhat shy and introverted. She doesn’t connect to people easily.


    June 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    • It is really hard to tell, and these traits definitely run in families. I’m hoping that with extra support at such an early age he’ll do as well as he can.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      June 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm

  6. […] his need to spin himself in circles.  I can distract him when he repeats things over and over- echoing his sister’s echolalia.  I can explain things, prepare him, help him understand this at times confusing world.  But I […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: