Echolalia – what is it?

In the event that a person has a habit of repeating words after his interlocutor, not really understanding the meaning of what was said, such a phenomenon may indicate the presence of echolalia . Such a diagnosis is made with a certain disorder of a neurological nature. Although sometimes echolalia can act as a form of natural development of the child’s speech.

Characteristic features of echolalia

The term ” echolalia ” comes from such ancient Greek words as “echo, conversation” and “speech”, which is why it indicates a symptom in which a person subject to such an ailment automatically repeats words in whole or in part. At the same time, the process of pronouncing the words heard in someone else’s speech occurs uncontrollably. Despite the fact that such a phenomenon may indicate a malfunction in the nervous system, it often acts as one of the communication tools.

This can be especially pronounced at an early age, when a one-year-old or two-year-old child is inclined to repeat other people’s words during the formation of his own vocabulary. However, with the normal development of the baby, by the age of three, the symptoms of echolalia go away naturally. If the phenomenon does not disappear at an older age, then the presence of various developmental disorders and even the presence of a neurological disorder should be suspected.

Echolalia , at whatever age it manifests itself, is divided into two types:

– complete;

– partial.

With complete echolalia , a person tends to automatically repeat words without understanding their meaning. While with an illness in a partial form, there is an approximate understanding of the words that were uttered by other people. Often the words heard are repeated immediately, but with a delayed form, repetitions can occur after several hours or days.

Causes of the disease

Imitation of heard words is a normal development of speech skills in a baby, but when this state of affairs continues in a child’s life, it usually indicates disinhibition of the imitative reflex. Also, symptoms that do not go away with age may indicate possible damage to the left hemisphere of the brain.

However, signs of illness often indicate various mental illnesses, among which are Pick’s disease , Tourette’s syndrome , catatonic schizophrenia . In most cases, people with autism tend to repeat words without realizing it.

Methods for correcting echolalia

The presence of echolalia is diagnosed by a specialist during a conversation with a person showing any signs of such a disorder. Along the way, other diagnostic manipulations can be applied to accurately make a final diagnosis, revealing the severity of the disease. Usually, to draw up a treatment plan, psychoneurologists cooperate with defectologists, speech therapists. An individual correction scheme is always selected taking into account the age of the patient and the level of neglect of the problem. Often assigned to the passage of special training programs with the use of specially designed manuals.


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