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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Community
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Avatar universal

echoing

5 year old w/ expressive/receptive language delays..mild sensory issues,very active..autism/pdd has been ruled out by neuro. and ped...b/c didn't meet criteria..  i thought he had borderline "characteristic" of autism, some days do not think that.. very social,many friendships,great imagination,no problems w/ physical contact,approriate eye contact,no rigid routines,transitions fine, not aggressive (now) his speech/language has been coming in over the last year appropriate..he does have his own original speech,great imagination, answers questions appropriately..has repeated (at times) last part of  complex questions during testing (thought was comprehension issues,processing)still needs support at school b/c his language delays does effect his academics..(will start kindergarten in sept)
my concern is he still will echo what he hears once in a while..sometimes it will be delayed..example: i told him the other day "we can't go outside and play b/c a thunderstorm was coming" he repeated what i said and then even 15 mins later he was looking out the window and continued to say it over and over, and the next day it was cloudy he was repeating my phrase looking out the window.. or when he comes home from school i will hear him say a statement that sounds like it happened that day at school example: "johny u can't play at the sand table" he'll say it a few times..then i investigate and he'll tell me what happened at school..
is this a speech delay thing? he's been known to have the receptive/processing difficulties...any thoughts???
5 Responses
Avatar universal
he just did it again..his older brother said to his little sister.."why are u touching my ipod?" he (5y.o. w/ delays) kept repeating that over and over after his older brother said it????
am i over analyzing???
470168 tn?1237474845
This is echolalia.  It can be immediate repetition of what he has heard or can be delayed and he may repeat something said hours, days, months, years before.  It indicates a language processing disorder not a delay and a disorder is for life.  It also indicates a sensory processing disorder (as hearing is one of the senses).  Again it varies from mild to severe and the more mild it is the more the child will also integrate their own speech with these 'pre-recorded phrases'.  
It also indicates a learning style that is more gestalt ie. learning things in whole chunks rather than analysing elements of a thing.  Therefore it means his approach to learning could be less flexible etc because for other children it is easier to learn information and adapt it ie. 'to use pieces of information to make up a picture' rather than try to 'find a whole picture that fits the event'.  Does that make sense?  This learning style will not just apply to language it will apply to everything.  So 'typical' children will learn information and manipulate things learnt to their experience and adapt it to fit the new experience/environment.  Someone who is more 'gestalt' may not even recognise an event/environment is 'similar' because they only have the concept of the 'whole' and not the individual pieces that make up the whole.
So, for example, he may have problems with generalisation ie. learning something in one environment and being able to use that learnt information in a new, similar but unfamiliar environment.  An extreme example of this might be that a child will learn to tie their shoelaces at home, but cannot repeat that same event at school because the whole learning experience of 'tying the shoelaces' is associated with the 'home experience/environment', therefore at school it is different.  As I say, this is extreme, but some autistic children have to be taught all the different variations of the same thing eg. one boy had to be taught all of the possible symbols for the ladies and gents toilets because if he learnt just one set, and when he went out the place used different symbols he could not use the information he had learnt about toilet symbols to deduce what these new different symbols represented.  Your child sounds much more mildly affected, but you may find it struggles with things you think are simple and are already learnt.
What you would need to do is when he learns something show him lots of variations of that that are similar.  Also lots of 'problem solving' games where he uses information learnt and has to adapt it to a different situation.  Also lots of 'predicting outcome' games where he is given some information and has to guess 'what happens next'.  
But he may be a very black and white thinker as well as have a literal interpretation of language.  You might google echolalia and autism to see what comes up and also google Semantic Pragmatic Disorder to see if any of that applies.
As you say, it does sound like he has some autistic traits, but maybe not enough to get a diagnosis.  But his strengths and weakenesses will become more apparent as he develops and that might help you target any help and support more in the future.  If you have any concerns about schooling you can contact the National Autistic Society in your country and access their education helpline where you can get advice about help and support your child can receive in school.
Avatar universal
thanks for the response..yes, alot of what u have said makes sense...some pertains to my son, some does not..tonight he is having a sleep over at my home w/ his friend same age (5) and most of the time my son is a "typical" little boy..most would not notice a difference in him (perhaps one notices his speech is somewhat behind for his age??lots of energy etc...)
i have been really watching them interact this eve..they have appropriate play,chit chat back and forth..however, i still have noticed that he has "echoed" a lot of statements his pal has made..one point his little friend said "ive been to the movies 5 times this summer" my son repeated the phrase..so i said to my son< "you've been to the movies 5 times this summer?" (btw, not true) my son replies, " i don't know"
so, as i said he only has the dx of speech/language delays..my gut is telling me there is something going on more...i've read a lot of the post here and i agree my son does not fit
the criteria for the spectrum.. there is something w/ how he is processing language..
he does know his abc's, #'s etc but has a hard time applying his knowledge..
he will be entering kindergarten in sept..i have a feeling that a lot of his difficulties may come out at school...he is on an IEP (individual educational plan) ( just to clarify b/c i
believe u said u are not in USA) so get speech and what ever support he needs at school...
i have taken him to the ped. neurologist 2 x's..(ruled out autism)
he gets extra speech at a local clinic..at this point i'm not sure what else i can do??
wait and see how he does at school? find out his learning style?
365714 tn?1292202708
Sometimes I may find myself repeating things I say to myself because the thought is stuck in my head... I don't know if anyone around me notices it or not... I know as a kid my dad said it annoyed him. Another reason I had was because I wasn't sure if people heard me or not. If they could acknowledge they heard me, then I could stop. I have a hunch that with most people when a thought crosses their mind, it goes through once and then is forgotten.  With someone on the spectrum, it may be possible the same thought, observation, memory, etc goes through two or more passes and may get stuck for a while.  If this is possible, I think that may be part of why autistic people seem to have very good long-term memory.  The more passes = the more chances for the mind to convert the thought/experience into long-term memory.

The same thing seems to happen with emotions and issues... If I'm confused or frustrated over something, it does not fade from my mind easily... No my mind is trying to connect the dots and figure out what happened... For instance at work, my supervisor told me that I was the only one around and somehow some things got messed up between that time and the next work day. Since I had no memory of the incident, I was in a bit of a mental tailspin trying to draw up a non-existent memory... Since I remembered working and what I did, I couldn't say I blacked out, had a seizure or anything... It had to have been something someone else did either before my shift or something else that occurred, such as a bag of stuff I pulled out of a bin and left...
I still don't have a clear resolution... I don't do well with ambiguity or confusion... My mind by default wants to make logical sense out of everything that happens around me. If that doesn’t get resolved it generates anxiety and something that nags my mind until something else comes up and pushes it out… My supervisor was pretty annoyed that I couldn't just drop the subject and go on. He tried telling me it's okay, but it still wasn't okay with me that I didn't know exactly what happened...

The generalization problem likely will get better as your son learns new experiences and if he learns to compare new situations to old ones to look for similarities and differences. The more experiances, the larger bank and the greater tool set he has to work with. In a way it's like collecting colored pencils. Eventually you get the 100+ prismocolors and can create things with those colors.  Also if he learns the formula for generalizing, that makes a difference.  With abstract thought, I learned certain patterns of thinking which seem to apply to a variety of things and I can expand on them.
470168 tn?1237474845
It maybe that he has the speech difficulties, and some sensory stuff, not not the social interaction problems or rigid repetitive behaviours etc.  That means he maybe classed as having some autistic traits, but not enough to get a diagnosis.  However it might be useful, if he is having difficulties at school, especially as school involves alot of language both receptive and expressive, that he may need similar types of supports as those provided for children on the spectrum ie. a visual timetable, things backed up with visual cues because he may find the processing of long dialogues difficult and he may have difficulties following 2-3-4 step instructions etc.
My son, who is diagnosised as being on the spectrum, also does relatively well with one to one social interaction etc.  And although I had my concerns before he started school, it was only once he went to school that it became more apparent that he was on the spectrum.  He just couldn't access what the other children were doing.  He couldn't listen to whole class instructions they had to be directed to him by name.  He couldn't following sequential instructions etc.  He is very quick to rote learn something, but then cannot apply this learnt information.  
I don't want to worry you about school, but have a word with the school and his teacher prior to him starting and tell them that you think he has some autistic traits and that you are especially worried about his understanding the language side of things in a classroom environment.
You could also look up Executive Function Disorder, to see if you see any signs of that.  And you could also keep an eye on any signs of dyslexia.
Some things that may help would be to play some problem solving games, predicting outcome games, visual and verbal memory retrieval games.  Also lots of physical activities involving crawling (apparently the crawling movement helps with the wiring of the brain and left to right hemisphere communication).
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